Rain rules the day but second XI play

Ilkeston Rutland second XI batsman Ross Slater edges Belper bowler Dan Kelly over slip on Saturday. Photo by Terry Fletcher.
Ilkeston Rutland second XI batsman Ross Slater edges Belper bowler Dan Kelly over slip on Saturday. Photo by Terry Fletcher.

The weather conspired against Ilkeston Rutland on Saturday...too wet to allow the first XI to build on a promising start against Sawley and too dry to save the second XI from defeat at Belper Meadows.

With the distraction of Derby County’s play-off Final at Wembley, the weather gave some an excuse to cancel the cricket and settle down to an afternoon in front of the TV.

They may have wished they’d been playing cricket but steady rain ruled that out as a possibility for all but the most committed.

Rutland’s first XI were eager to build on the previous weekend’s first win of the season and the visitors Sawley, placed just above them at the wrong end of Division One, offered to perfect opportunity.

Captain David Smit won a toss delayed by the rain and put the opposition in. In the nine overs that were played, the ball dominated with four chances being created and two taken.

Chris Trueman Jnr removed both openers, Tom Beresford and David Eckersley, and Sawley were precariously placed at 15 for 2 when more rain forced the game to be abandoned.

The extra point gained by Rutland moves them level with Sawley but frustration was the over-riding emotion at the Rec.

Rutland’s 2nd XI recorded their first win of the season last Wednesday in the first round of the 20 over Butterley Cup.

The victory, over Stanton, was made possible by one of the most outstanding innings by a Rutland player for many years.

Aidan Smith came in to bat in the 13th over with his side struggling to score quickly at 52 for 2.

But in 31 balls he changed all that with some astonishing hitting - 12 boundaries and six maximums.

Had he managed to hit the final ball of the innings for another four, he would have reached a well-deserved century but finished 98 not out.

That solo effort allowed Rutland to post 161 from their 20 overs and despite an unbeaten 71 from Matt Sisson, Stanton fell short by 13 runs.

Belper Meadows are a club used to life in the top three tiers of Derbyshire cricket but a fall-out at the end of the 2012 season saw most of the first XI depart and they opted to reclassify their second XI as their first XI.

The upshot is a club desperate for rapid promotion and a visit from Rutland’s struggling second XI was too tempting a prospect for the weather to ruin.

So it was that despite continual rain, Belper insisted on their right to keep the game on in the hope of a dry spell and both teams spent three hours twiddling their thumbs and, latterly, watching that football match on mobile phones.

When play became possible just before 4pm, Rutland were put in to bat for a 28-over contest.

They struggled to 104 for 5 with the innings being rescued by some clean hitting from Tom Bobeszko whose unbeaten 29 included two sixes and took just 13 balls.

Other notable contributions were Ryan Clarke (24) and Darren Hooley (26 not out).

Rutland pressed hard in defence of their lowly score with Bryan Smith taking two wickets as Belper found themselves on 70 for 4.

Of more concern than the loss of wickets were the black clouds gathering over the ground.

It seemed certain that they would break and wash out Belper’s ambition but somehow they skirted the ground allowing the home side to complete a six wicket win.

There was no play in the fixture at Gallows between the third XI and Calow.