Relegation crept ominously closer for Ilkeston Rutland after a heavy defeat at the hands of neighbours Nutbrook in Division One of the Derbyshire County League.
Rutland were routed by 135 runs by their mid-table hosts and now sit rock-bottom of the table, only four points adrift of their nearest rivals but fully 32 behind the team third from bottom. They have just five matches to play.
The derby bore many similarities to their clash in May when Nutbrook appeared to be struggling but recovered to post a decent total in the hands of Australian all-rounder Harry Thoman and go on to win easily.
This time, that total was 256-8, with Thoman making 89 (two sixes and ten fours) to follow up his half-century in May, and Rutland’s only excuse was the absence of four regulars who were all on holiday.
Thoman’s crucial knock came after Rutland’s best period of the game had reduced Nutbrook to 107-5. Returning bowler Chris Trueman jnr ran out dangerous opener Michael Chambers (35) and then Aidan Smith (2-67 in 15 overs) picked up two cheap wickets.
However, Thoman repaired matters for the hosts, with the aggressive help of captain Steve Sanderson, who cracked 46 (six fours) in a stand worth 93 for the sixth wicket. Alistair Hodgkinson also added 24no.
Faced with such a lofty target, Rutland’s best hope was to cling on for a losing draw, but for a side yet to bat out a full 50 overs all season, their failure came as little surprise.
Not that it was the fault of opener David Smit, who battled gamely only to see all ten teammates lose their wickets at the other end and be left stranded on 66no (11 fours) when the innings folded on 121 in the 37th of the allotted 50 overs.
RUTLAND 2nd strolled to a ten-wicket win to haul themselves within a point of safety in Division Six South after skittling Stanton-by-Dale for just 90. Bryan Smith took 5-37 and Lee Bradley (57no hit his first half-century at this level.