CRICKET: Dramatic finish and a winning draw

Rob Stipanovic batting    PICTURES BY MIKE BAKER

Rob Stipanovic batting PICTURES BY MIKE BAKER

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Rugby 2nds now just 13 points behind promotion places

Warwickshire Cricket League

Krish Dhokia

Krish Dhokia

Division 4

Rugby 2nds v

Oakfield 1sts

Rugby came out on top in a dramatic finish against local-rivals Oakfield, fighting back to secure a winning draw in an entertaining match.

Raj Chohan

Raj Chohan

The visitors made the short journey from Long Lawford and skipper Richard Burnett asked Rugby to bat first upon winning the toss.

After losing Raj Chohan (8) early on to Dave Odwell (2-32), Rob Stipanovic (29) and Krish Dhokia (18) laid a solid foundation with a partnership of 51.

Oakfield took two quick wickets to get themselves back in the driving seat, but an attacking stand between Mo Sadiq and Abhay Lal (25) wrestled back the momentum for Rugby.

Sadiq’s fluent 67 from 56 balls was the highest contribution in Rugby’s innings, but an enterprising innings from Tom Mitchell saw him shepherd the tail through the final overs.

His 46 not out from 39 balls saw Rugby reach 233 before losing their tenth wicket to final ball of the 50 overs.

Hem Mistry removed James Rowland (3) early in Oakfield’s reply, but Rob Harris (21) joined Burnett and moved the score to 58, before he was caught of Lal’s bowling.

At 58-2, the game was evenly poised but the Burnett brothers then produced a high-quality partnership that looked to take the game away from Rugby.

Rugby did themselves no favours, dropping a number of chances and also getting Richard Burnett out off a no-ball, but the brothers took advantage of this in impressive fashion.

They added 129 in a commanding stand and, at 187-2, there appeared to be only one winner, but the introduction of Jonny Sage turned the game on its head.

Sage bowled R Burnett (86), before James Barker returned to the attack and removed the dangerous Craig Gowdy (6), as Rugby started to believe they could get a result.

When wicket-keeper Ikram Ullah scampered out from behind the stumps to throw down the bowler’s end stumps and run out Stuart Burnett (81), the game was on a knife-edge.

Krish Dhokia (2-41) claimed two wickets in the penultimate over, including a brilliant one-handed catch by Sadiq and suddenly Oakfield were left needing 15 from the final six balls.

Sage (3-38) bowled the final over and a dramatic mix of runs and wickets saw Oakfield finally close on 230-9, three runs short of Rugby’s score, as the home side secured a winning draw.

The 18-points was not enough to move Rugby up the table and they stay in fourth place, but it narrowed the gap to just 13 points between them and the promotion places.