Ilkeston Rutland closed the gap on the leading contenders in Derbyshire League Division One on Saturday with a dramatic win at Duffield.
A game seemingly destined for a dingy abandonment was set alight in the last hour of play by some glorious hitting by Rutland’s David Smit and Robert Green.
Their unbroken stand of 156 from 17.1 overs not only brought them a surprise 22 points but put down a marker for this Friday evening’s Jackson Cup semi-final at Ockbrook.
First it was Green, unable to bowl due to a groin injury, who took on the Duffield seamers.
His unbeaten 54 from 51 balls and was the perfect foil for Smit who bludgeoned 83 from just 55 balls.
His innings included one over in which he hit four sixes off the bowling of the unfortunate left arm spinner Balraj Johal.
Rain at the start had seen the match reduced to 38 overs and when play was further interrupted, a positive result looked impossible.
A break in the weather allowed Duffield to use their 38 overs to score 155 for 9, a score limited by 11 overs each from the cousins Trueman - John and Chris.
Chris’s seamers brought him figures of 2 for 43 while John’s off breaks proved impossible to attack as he claimed 4 for 23.
With only 20 overs available for their innings, Rutland treated it like a 20:20 to spectacular effect.
Rutland’s second XI are now off the bottom of Division Four North after recording their first league win of the year at the Rec against fellow strugglers South Wingfield.
Put in to bat on a damp wicket, the visitors posted comfortably their highest score of the season - 201 for 7 from 46 overs.
They looked on course for a lot more at 129 for 1 with 20 overs left but the introduction of Adam Slater changed that.
His spinners produced four wickets and, bowling in tandem with Richard Siddons, the run rate slowed.
Rutland still required a season’s best to chase down their target but managed it comfortably.
This was due to a third wicket stand of 152 in 24 overs between Slater, celebrating his 17th birthday with 65, and Richard Kelleher who eased his way to 90 in just 71 balls.
With the first and second XIs both winning from unlikely positions, the high-flying third XI managed the reverse - losing a game they looked set to win.
Duffield’s innings never got going and a score of well below 150 seemed probable until a tenth wicket stand took them to 171.
Rutland then capsized with the bat, slumping to 73 all out with only Grant Robertson (23) and Paul Banks (15) reaching double figures.