The fight against relegation by Ilkeston Rutland took a turn for the worse when only ten players turned up for their latest Derbyshire County League, First Division match at Elvaston,
And with only four of those ten -- captain Luke Marriott, David Smit, Rob Green and Ian Banks -- considered regulars, Rutland sank to an almost inevitable three-wicket defeat that left them stranded at the foot of the table.
Said a club spokesman: “If the first eleven are to escape from the relegation zone, then we must found ourselves a first eleven. Absences from some and obstinacy from others who don’t want to play their cricket at such a high level has left us with real problems. The fact that we lost by a mere three wickets is a tribute to the last of the few.”
Put into bat, Rutland hunkered down with determination to see out their overs and put a competitive score on the board. But they were bowled out for just 136, despite recovering well from the early loss of Smit (19) and Damien Jones.
Indeed things looked promising as Marriott (39, six fours) and Green (44, five fours) added 82 in 24 overs for the third wicket, both restraining their natural attacking game for the sake of the situation and both defying a wicket taking turn.
However, from 117-2, Rutland lost their last eight wickets for just 19 runs in a crazy collapse. Elvaston’s overseas left-arm spinner, Clayton Floyd, had been held at arm’s length for nine overs before a frustrated Marriott got a thick edge that wicketkeeper Mitch Bradley clung on to at the second attempt, and the dismissal opened the floodgates. Floyd (4-31 in 12.2 overs) also removed Green and as the lower order folded, the hosts’ other spinner, Jake Harrold (3-43 in 11 overs), cashed in too.
Elvaston’s reply was put under immediate pressure, particularly by the impressive Green (3-40 in 15 overs), who reduced them to 11-2. But a partnership of 69 for the third wicket between Nick Briars and Jack Johnson, both of whom made 30, steadied the home ship.
They were eventually split by Ian Banks, who went on to take 3-37 from 11.5 overs, but a composed 26 (five fours) from captain Harrold proved enough to get Elvaston home as Rutland rued further dropped chances.
WHILE the first team were labouring with ten men, Rutland’s second and third teams were busy winning with a full complement of players.
The seconds moved closer to safety in Division Six South with victory at home to Quarndon, who were restricted to 157-7 before knocks of 75 from Darren Cundy and 44no from captain Gary Hickinbotham eased Rutland to a seven-wicket success.
The thirds racked up 234-4, thanks largely to Nikki Thompson (75no) and Joe Fretwell (68), before bowling out Buxton 3rd for 123.