Rutland denied by the rain at Clifton

Ilkeston Rutland v Alfreton Cricket. Ilkeston bowler, Aiden Smith in action on Saturday.
Ilkeston Rutland v Alfreton Cricket. Ilkeston bowler, Aiden Smith in action on Saturday.

Sometimes the scorecard can lie and anyone thinking that Ilkeston Rutland’s 1st XI - at 118-8 chasing 191 - were saved by the rain in their abandonment at Clifton would be seriously misled.

The elements apart, this was a game that Rutland controlled from the moment David Smit won the toss and asked the home side to bat under the threatening skies.

Rob Green was at his consistent best – the openers only able to grope at his quick left-armers and he was finally rewarded when Adam Wooliscroft edged low to Ian Banks at first slip.

Clifton continued cautiously and Smit took his main threat out of the attack, saving Green for the coming of Pat Kruger, Clifton’s dangerous South African.

He eventually arrived after Will Wilson, who had taken 79 balls for his 18 runs, lobbed a drive tamely to point.

In their fixture with Clifton earlier in the season, Kruger had developed an alarming habit of running down the wicket and hitting spinner Danny Bobeszko for six.

He had been in for only five balls when he was at it again, Bobeszko crest-fallen.

His 45 from 40 balls was interrupted by several rain-breaks and ended immediately after one such delay when he punched a gentle full toss from Green straight to Aidan Smith at cover.

By now, the time lost to rain had warped the contest. Rutland rushed through their overs, Clifton failed to accelerate and closed on 190-5, Matt Wilson top-scoring with 59.

Rutland had 75 minutes to reach the target, an almost impossible task.

They went for it, Smit (31), Darren Cundy (20) and Green (34) all prospered but all fell to seamer Ed Wilson who returned figures of 7 for 40 as time eventually ran out with Rutland on 118-8.

With five games remaining, Ilkeston need a run of positive results to stay in the promotion hunt starting with Rolleston, who are just two points ahead of them, this Saturday at the Rec.

The weather banged a couple more nails into Rutland 2nd XI’s bid for promotion from Division Six South.

As they were being thwarted in their bid to beat Elvaston at the Rec, Rolleston and Alvaston & Boulton, the teams they need to catch, were successfully shower-dodging their way to wins.

It was unfortunate for Rutland who had recovered from the early loss of David Robinson to bat themselves into a commanding position.

Vic Pilbeam showed his capabilities in the opening role and along with fellow teenager Adam Slater added 120 for the second wicket.

Both fell in quick succession – Slater for 64, Pilbeam for 60, before Ryan Clarke continued his run of form with 34.

With the ball hopping around in overcast conditions, Rutland, whose bowling was at full strength, would have fancied their chances but with Elvaston at 14-1, the rain washed out proceedings.

For Rutland’s 3rd XI to avoid relegation from Division Nine North will require some extraordinary performances and on Saturday they found one, largely thanks to big-hitting cab driver Shafqat Amin.

Chasing 221 to beat Apperknowle, he hit an unbeaten 144, 130 of which came in the form of fours or sixes.

The only running being done was by fielders looking for the six lost balls, one of which turned up in the car park of the Travellers’ Rest public house.

Earlier Dylan Place (2 for 32) had been the pick of Rutland’s bowlers.

This Sunday, the 3rd XI play their first ever Cup Final against Rolls Royce at Darley Abbey.

Meanwhile, on the same day, the 2nd XI have their delayed Wright Cup quarter and semi-finals at the Rec.