Ilkeston Rutland enjoyed a successful weekend with all three of their sides registering morale-boosting wins.
The signs are particularly encouraging for the first XI. After beating Clifton for the first time in over a decade the previous weekend, they followed it up with a crushing victory against Rolleston, another side who they have failed to beat since being in Division One.
David Smit won the toss and saw enough in the green-looking wicket to give his bowlers first use of the pitch.
It took eight overs for them to make a breakthrough – opener Gareth Marshall, who plundered a century against this attack last year, cutting at one from Chris Trueman Jnr and feathering an edge to keeper Luke Marriott.
Trueman then encouraged a big drive from Richard Green which also found the edge and was taken by George Moulds at first slip before Rob Green removed Tom Liversage to another catch in the slips.
Rolleston dug in but their defences were truly breached when Danny Bobeszko joined the attack. His off spin generated both bounce and turn from the surface and, in his third, he removed both Liam Goode and Alex Britton.
Opener James Ede was still trying to hold it all together but Bobeszko found his edge and he was gone for 34, one of four catches for Marriott.
At 73 for 6, there was little appetite in the Rolleston lower order for scrapping out the remaining half of their overs and Rutland wrapped up their innings for 99 with Aidan Smith taking 2-6 and Bobeszko a stand-out 4-15.
The target was chased down for the loss of two wickets with Kevin Leatherday scoring an unbeaten 46 which included two sixes over extra-cover off seamer Graham Dent.
The win lifts Rutland to third place in the table, their best start to a season since they last won promotion to the Premier League in 2007.
Next up for them is a home league fixture against lowly Ambergate on Saturday, followed by a chance to test their progress in the Marston’s Smooth Trophy, where they face Marehay, the only side to beat them this year.
Rutland’s 2nd XI continued their good form in Division Six South with a dramatic last over victory against Lullington Park.
Opting to bat first, they made 220 from their 46 overs with important contributions at the top of the order from Gary Hickinbotham (40) and Matt Parry (44).
The scoring rate accelerated with a 64-run stand between Darren Cundy (64) and Lewis Jones (26) but they then collapsed dramatically from 213 for 5 to 220 all out with 13-year-old Joe Collier taking 4-16.
Rutland’s quest for ten wickets began well with Mark Kilday taking three early scalps. It could have been better had three chances not been missed off Kilday’s luckless new ball partner Chris Trueman Snr.
It seemed inevitable that the fielding errors would cost Rutland the chance of 27 points and they began the final over with two wickets still required.
Richard Siddons, captaining the side in place of Hickinbotham who had dislocated his finger in the field, backed himself and it proved an inspired choice.
His third ball found the edge and the ball was grabbed by David Robinson at slip. His next delivery, angling in on the stumps, struck Lullington’s last man on the pads and their umpire raised his finger to sportingly concede defeat.
A more competitive league display from Rutland’s 3rd XI was followed up by a win in their 20:20 Cup match on Sunday.
On Saturday they bowled out Stanton by Dale for 159 with Adam Ball taking his best figures in adult cricket with 4 -28.
Sadly, despite a battling 38 from opener Lee Bradley, Rutland fell short being bowled out for 102.
However a change of format on Sunday saw them pummel 150 from their 20 overs against Kirk Langley with Danny Law smashing 67, including ten boundaries, and Bryan Smith making an unbeaten 41.
The target proved too many for Kirk Langley who could not score quickly enough against some decent bowling – the pick of which was from Sam Purdy who took 2 for 17 from his four overs.
They now face Spondon 4th XI in a quarter-final of the Harry Lund Cup on July 5th.