Horrific weekend for Ilkeston first XI

Ilkeston bowler Rob Green sends down a delivery during the defeat to Elvaston on Saturday. nila 26-04-14 ll-35/PHOTO BY LIZZI LATHROP
Ilkeston bowler Rob Green sends down a delivery during the defeat to Elvaston on Saturday. nila 26-04-14 ll-35/PHOTO BY LIZZI LATHROP

It was an alarming weekend for Ilkeston Rutland’s first XI. After scraping a draw from a game they should have won the previous week, they were thrashed by both Elvaston and Cutthorpe and looked like a side destined to struggle.

The bare statistics make such grim reading you may wish to look away now. One point gained from a possible 54, 119 runs scored off the bat, 20 wickets lost and only one taken. Truly, a weekendus horribilis.

It started with a lost toss on a wet wicket against Elvaston whose opening bowlers, the youthful Simon Lillie and the experienced Naeem Akhtar, exploited conditions perfectly.

The first delivery was a no-ball which David Smit hit for four but that proved to be the only boundary of Rutland’s innings.

Within 25 overs they had been wiped out for 58 with only Smit (19) and Sam Moulds (9) scoring more than three.

Lillie, who improves each year, produced his best career figures (6 for 26) and Akhtar chipped in with 4 for 29, including the prize scalp of Smit.

Elvaston cantered to their target and the game was over before tea should have been served.

If that defeat was sobering, then the next day’s performance against Cutthorpe was disastrous.

The original fixture fell on Carnival Saturday, so this game was brought forward and represented a chance for Rutland to enjoy a flying start.

Cutthorpe hover between Divisions One and Two and are likely to be in the bottom half again but at the Rec on Sunday they walloped Rutland.

Put in to bat, the home side fared little better than the day before. They wouldn’t have reached three figures had their opponents not sent down 40 wides and only Luke Marriott (34), Smit (19) and Chris Trueman Snr (13) reached double figures.

Still, defending 125 on a difficult wicket should have made for a close contest. Instead, Cutthorpe raced to the target in under 20 overs with Matthew Cluer hitting 93 from 55 balls.

Unlike their opponents whose bowlers offered nothing to drive or pull, Rutland served up an enticing mix of half volleys and long hops and with so many lousy fielders on show could build no pressure.

This Saturday, they must try to put it all behind them and get their season started afresh with a trip to Eckington whose only season in the Premier League ended in relegation.

Rutland’s 2nd XI remain unbeaten but once again they looked a long way from achieving victory.

Like last week, it was a batting rearguard from captain Gary Hickinbotham which spared their blushes after they had slumped to 31 for 5 in pursuit of Darley Abbey’s 192.

Rutland clung on for a draw at 54 for 9 from their 46 overs with the high point being the captain’s 11 from 83 deliveries. Little more needs to be written.

By contrast to the other club sides, the 3rd XI are flourishing. They took on local rivals Nutbrook at Gallows on Saturday and dominated the game after winning the toss.

Despite reaching 90 for 3, Nutbrook couldn’t lift their innings above crawling speed and closed on 115 for 6 from 46 overs.

A 54 run partnership in ten overs between Luke White (39) and Ryan Clarke (26) effectively ended the contest, although a middle order wobble meant that it was Ainsley Hallam (14 not out) who struck the winning blow for a four wicket win and Rutland’s first success of 2014.