A valiant half-century by David Smit was not enough to prevent Ilkeston Rutland slumping back to the bottom of the First Division in the Derbyshire County League.
Opener Smit’s 67, which included ten boundaries, failed to let Rutland’s fragile batting line-up off the hook. Indeed it represented well over half of their paltry total of 119, which gifted a five-wicket victory to promotion-chasing visitors, Alrewas.
The fixture marked the season’s halfway-point and things are looking bleak for Rutland, who have two teams propping up their respective tables while the relatively high-flying third-team had to concede their match because of insufficient players.
Such a shortage of personnel left the first 11 with three regulars from the thirds in their starting line-up and, perhaps aware that Rutland have only bettered 150 on two occasions in the league this year, the visitors had no hesitation in opting to bowl on a rain-softened wicket.
A cautious start was soon broken when captain Luke Marriot was trapped lbw by Liam Taylor (2-25 in nine overs), and it wasn’t long before two more cheap wickets fell.
No wonder Rutland were thankful that Smit consistently found the ropes, despite tweaking an injury sustained to his hamstring, and when a fourth-wicket stand with Rob Green (16) moved the total on to 106-3, the hosts did not look in a bad position.
However, Green was then caught and bowled by Alrewas’s second-change bowler, medium-pacer Tom Chapman, who proceeded to rip through the rest of the Rutland order, next dismissing Ian Banks lbw and soon forcing Smit to hobble off with his stumps disturbed.
Alarmingly, from 118-5, just one more run was added as a soft tail was left exposed to the golden arm of Chapman, who finished with remarkable figures of 6-26 from nine overs. Rutland were grateful to the extras column (23) for their second highest contribution.
Early wickets were key if the home team were to put up a fight, but Alrewas had already sailed on to 51 before opening bowlers Green and Banks managed a breakthough as the latter had visiting captain James Burton caught by Smit for 23 (three fours).
Three more wickets did fall as Banks ended up with 3-60 from 11.3 overs. But the outcome was never in doubt thanks to confident strokeplay from Alrewas trio Gareth Woolley (39, one six and six fours), Stephen Cole (21no, three fours) and Ben Foley (19, four fours).
Rutland enjoyed brief consolation when Matthew Parry ran out Foley with a fine direct hit, but Cole struck the final blow as early as the 24th over.
THE Ilkeston side also bowed out of the league’s T20 competition at Stainsby Hall on Sunday. They won their group semi-final against Sawley, helped by an unbeaten 50 from Perry, but lost a one-sided final against Stainsby, crashing to 84 all out after conceding an intimidating total of 149.