The penultimate weekend of the Derbyshire League season saw Rutland’s three teams ease their relegation anxieties despite four disappointing results.
The first XI earned a losing draw at Sawley but would have hoped for more after winning the toss and putting the home side in to bat on a soft, green wicket.
Rutland, however, were soon losing wickets at regular intervals as they have done all season.
To exploit such conditions they turned to two Greens, Rob and Alan, who opened the bowling in their very different styles.
Alan brought early success when opener Neil Fawcett was LBW for only two. At the other end, Rob was beating the bat frequently but straying in line and length.
Sawley’s Trevor Kietzmann and Dave Eckersley were watchful as they took the score along to 89 before David Smit bowled Kietzman for 41.
Eckersley and Richard Lawton applied themselves, rode their luck and added a further 91 before Smit struck again to remove Eckersley for 73.
Lawton (62) attacked in the last ten overs and took the score to a challenging 235 for 6.
Rutland were soon stumbling at 48 for 3 but they were regaining the initiative through Smit and Luke Marriott when the latter gloved a popping delivery from spinner Andy Rhodes onto his stumps for 22.
A partnership of 88 between Smit and Ross Slater followed which left Rutland needing 52 from the final seven overs.
Smit, always the vital wicket, then holed out at deep mid-wicket for 81 and the next ball Slater was bowled by a grubber for 34.
Rutland ended on 190 for 6, taking nine points to Sawley’s 17. With Cutthorpe scoring no points at all, the 1st XI are now 41 points clear of the drop.
l It was a home double-header for Rutland’s 2nd XI , beginning with a baptism of fire against Chesterfield who included first team regular and former Derbyshire bowler Michael Deane in their ranks.
His pace and swing proved too much for Rutland who made just 67, Deane taking 7 for 36 and Paul Goodwin 3 for 2.
Of the batsmen Ian Banks made 20 and young Vic Pilbeam lasted 60 balls for an unbeaten 18 as the tail collapsed around him. Chesterfield cantered home by eight wickets in just 12 overs.
On Sunday, the 2nd XI found Morton’s more ordinary attack just as difficult to handle, collapsing to 44 for 6 in pursuit of a victory target of 215.
Morton’s began brightly with boundaries flowing but the fall of regular wickets and an economical spell from Chris Trueman Snr slowed their progress.
However, Paul Holmes propelled them over 200, putting on 85 for the fifth wicket with Ashley Caunt (40 not out).
Holmes the bowler then triggered Rutland’s demise accounting for both openers in his first over. It got worse for the home side who looked washed up at 78 for 7 with 22 overs remaining.
A partnership of 63 between David Robinson and Adam Slater saved their blushes before Robinson was stumped for 59, Slater (23 not out) surviving the remaining overs with Grant Robertson and Trueman Snr to secure the losing draw.
l A weakened 3rd XI travelled to already promoted Wirksworth and had reduced them to 74 for 5 at drinks.
Spinner Bryan Smith took 3 for 30 but could not remove opener Keith Williams who cashed in with an unbeaten 105.
Defending 215 for 6, Wirksworth made mincemeat of Rutland’s batting, dismissing them for a season-low 22.
But with news that Ambergate had been docked ten points for failing to field a side, Rutland need just 11 points from their final two matches to secure safety.