Rutland left looking over their shoulder

A season that began so optimistically for Ilkeston Rutland is morphing into a relegation dogfight following a comprehensive beating by Marehay, one of only four sides below them at the start of Saturday’s game.

The visitors decided to bat first and set about Rutland’s new ball attack with alarming ease. Given width on a good batting wicket, they took full advantage, reaching 40 from only 22 balls.

In his fourth over, Sam Moulds found the right line to trouble Stephen Lee and had him caught behind for 21, but Marehay were still galloping at 73- 1 from ten overs.

Briefly, Rutland looked capable of restoring order as Rob Green first tied up and then dismissed the number three to a sharp slip catch by Damian Jones.

Marehay, however, continued to punish the loose stuff. Opener Jonathan Bradder’s 70 came at a run-a-ball and Ben Perry-Taylor’s 82 took them to a commanding position.

They would comfortably have passed 300 were it not for a reliable yet luckless spell of 15 overs from Michael Chambers.

Hitting the seam, he showed there was life in the wicket, something Marehay’s bowlers exploited considerably better.

In the field, Rutland missed the full repertoire of chances – catches, stumpings and run outs, and ended up facing a target of 293 after some late hitting from James Kyte (43 from 38 balls).

They took seven wickets with spinner Danny Bobeszko claiming 3-64.

Any hope of Rutland winning the game vanished with the departure of David Smit for 13 at the start of the fifth over.

Marehay’s opening pair of Kyte and Richard Wood both caused problems and defeat looked highly at 46- 4 after 14 overs.

But Luke Marriott (37) and Matt Wakefield (25) dug in admirably in a partnership that lasted for 21 overs and their good work was followed up by Moulds, who made 26.

Their efforts allowed Rutland to close on 154-9 and earn themselves the fig-leaf of a losing draw.

But with only six points gained from the game, they are now just 15 points from the drop zone and 51 points from the promotion places in a congested Division One table.

Rutland 2nd XI managed to move themselves to a safer ledge in the Division Four North table with an impressive winning draw against high-flying Heanor.

Having been put into bat, Rutland made a good start with Martin Brandrick assuredly holding up one end while Ian Banks (19) and Darren Cundy (37) played shots at the other.

Brandrick’s 73 was the rock on which the innings was built but it was keeper John Hunt with 39 from 35 balls who lifted them to an impressive 231-7 from their 46 overs.

With a decent target to defend, Rutland’s bowlers stuck to their task with Banks taking 4-46 from his 14 overs.

By drinks, Heanor were in serious strife at 92-6 but Andrew Brear (78) held up the victory charge as Rutland struggled to break through.

The home side closed on 167-8, taking eight points to Rutland’s 19.

Rutland’s 3rd XI made it three home wins in a row with a four-wicket win against Nutbrook. Put in to bat, the visitors soon found themselves 29-5 after a devastating opening spell by Joe Bird. Bowling fast and straight, he took 4-12 in his first burst and and returned to claim the last wicket and make it a first league five-for. By this stage, Nutbrook had recovered somewhat and their total of 97 would have proved problematic were it not for the batting of Vic Pilbeam with an unbeaten 43.