Smit smashes second successive century

Ilkeston bowler Danny Bobeszko sends down a delivery during the win at Staveley Welfare on Saturday
Ilkeston bowler Danny Bobeszko sends down a delivery during the win at Staveley Welfare on Saturday

Ilkeston Rutland first XI made it six positive results from their last seven games as they galloped to a nine-wicket win against struggling Staveley Welfare on Saturday.

This is their best run of results since 2007 when they were last promoted to the Premier League and it is the sort of form that would have seen them go up again had they not started so poorly.

For the second week running, the win featured a comfortable chase and a century from David Smit.

A fortnight ago, the captain looked in danger of recording his worst season with the bat since 2009, but with back-to-back tons he is on course to top 900 runs for the fifth consecutive year.

This innings, 132 not out from 90 balls, was a more exhilarating affair than the more workmanlike effort at Sawley last week.

The pitch was better, the bowling weaker and he smashed it - 18 boundaries, four sixes and 213 chased down in 30 overs and one ball.

The intention was clear from the start. Smit’s first ball went to the boundary and his fourth and his fifth - disheartening for Staveley’s South African all-rounder Michael van Niekerk.

Such was the joie de vivre that even Michael Chambers joined in - whacking a couple of boundaires of his own in the second over.

The pair added 90 in 15 overs before Chambers (27) feathered an edge from the spin of Chris Bullimore.

His departure brought Luke Marriott to the crease. Unbeaten on 49 last week, he went one better this - his half century coming from just 41 balls as he and Smit savoured an early finish.

Earlier in the day, Rutland had been made to work hard after losing the toss on a very flat wicket and having to wait 22 overs for a breakthrough.

It was Danny Bobeszko who provided it - inducing an edge from left-hander Joe Bullimore, which was snapped up by David Robinson, who had just been moved in to slip.

Rutland continued to contain Staveley whose opener Luke Mantle faced 134 balls for his 65 and with just ten overs to go they were 141 for 1 and desperately in need of some fireworks.

These might have been provided by the big-hitting van Niekerk but he crashed his fifth ball straight to point where Rob Green held a sharp catch.

It was the first of three wickets for Chris Trueman Jnr who, after a tight, wicket-less opening spell, was rewarded at the death for further accurate bowling.

Rutland’s next task is a home fixture against the other side currently in the Division One relegation zone - Stainsby Hall.

Looking at the points column of 5 North and you’d be forgiven for thinking this was a forgettable season for Rutland’s struggling 2nd XI.

But look a bit closer and it’s remarkable for the sheer number of losing draws. No other team has managed more than three but on Saturday Rutland clung on again to register their tenth.

If they do avoid the drop, it will definitely be by their finger tips and, just as on Saturday, it will probably feature some grim blocking by numbers ten and 11.

They ended up chasing 208 at Selston after some early breakthroughs by Joe Bird and Lewis Jones were frittered away in the middle overs as chances went begging. Lee Harris (59), dropped twice off the luckless Bird, was the main beneficiary.

In response, Rutland’s opening pair came out of the traps....slowly and cautiously.

By the 22nd over, Gary Hickinbotham and Ross Slater had seen off the opening bowlers while adding just 52 runs and the losing draw loomed large.

Both then suffered rushes of blood to the head and departed attempting to release their frustrations against Stuart Egan’s off spin.

A further six wickets fell in the next 11 overs to leave Rutland on 94 for 8 and seemingly heading for defeat but James Feanside (1 from 26 balls), Paul Banks (an unbeaten 6 from 32 ) and Simeon Green saw out the final ten overs to close on 102 for 9.

What with football, holidays, weddings and the like, player shortages are starting to bite those at the lower end of Derbyshire’s cricket pyramid.

Rutland’s 3rd XI found 11 players to the nine of Selston 2nd XI and prevailed by ten wickets.

Put in to bat, the visitors lost early wickets to Tom Lowe and Ainsley Hallam and folded for just 81.

Andy Flindall (33) and Jeff Dunbar (39) guided them home without loss.

They now have four games to secure promotion from Nine North, all against other teams with the same ambition - starting at Gallows on Saturday with Holmewood 2nd XI.