CRICKET PICTURES: Fantastic partnership between Robards and Parker

Henry Parker (red hat) and 'Charlie Robards (blue hat) batting for Rugby 1sts against Nuneaton on Saturday
Henry Parker (red hat) and 'Charlie Robards (blue hat) batting for Rugby 1sts against Nuneaton on Saturday

Rugby CC weekend round-up

Warwickshire Cricket League

Henry Parker on his way to 87

Henry Parker on his way to 87

Premier Division

Rugby v Nuneaton

Rugby returned to winning ways with a comfortable victory over Nuneaton, set up by a fantastic partnership between Charlie Robards and Henry Parker.

Rugby were asked to bat first in bowler-friendly conditions, but Steve Ward and Robards started the innings well with a 49-run stand.

Henry Parker

Henry Parker

However, when Ward (30) was bowled by Lee McNeil, he became the first of three wickets in successive overs for the Nuneaton skipper, as Rugby collapsed to 55-3.

Robards and Parker began watchfully, seeing off the early threat of the visitors’ new-ball attack, but Rugby needed to increase their momentum having struggled to 69-3 after 27 overs.

Parker responded in ideal fashion for Rugby, taking 30 runs off the next two overs, which included six consecutive boundaries.

This change of momentum shifted the game dramatically in Rugby’s favour and the Webb Ellis Roaders never looked back.

Charlie Robards and Henry Parker

Charlie Robards and Henry Parker

Robards (65) returned to form with another classy half-century, adding 123 runs for the third wicket, but it was Parker who stole the show.

The middle-order batsman underlined his quality with a match-defining innings of 87 and was heartbreakingly run out when a maiden century was on the cards.

Rugby skipper Owen Edwards blasted 35 from 19 balls, before a flurry of late wickets saw his side bowled out for 236 in the 50th over.

This score looked above par for the course; a suspicion which soon became reality, as Matt Ewer and Edwards caused plenty of trouble for Nuneaton’s top order.

Charlie Robards

Charlie Robards

Ewer was at his nagging best and bowled unchanged for figures of 12-2-29-3, while Edwards (6-3-6-1) claimed the key wicket of Marco Higgins, as the visitors slumped to 25-4.

David Ison (8) and Martin Cox rallied to 54-4 for Nuneaton but, when Tom Wilkins took a wicket in his first over for the third week running, the writing was on the wall.

Cox (36) offered the only real resistance, but he was brilliantly caught by Tom Mitchell and Wilkins made light work of the lower order.

Parker added a wicket with his leg spin, before Wilkins claimed the final wicket and his fifth of the innings, to record his best figures of the season 6.3-3-18-5.

Nuneaton were all out for 99, as Rugby won by 137 to claim 24 points and consolidate fourth place in the league.

Rugby’s bank holiday Monday encounter with Marston Green was rained off without a ball being bowled, leaving two away fixtures with Hampton and Bablake to finish the season.

Henry Parker

Henry Parker

WARCL Division 4

Nuneaton 2nds v

Rugby 2nds

Rugby came away from their trip to Weddington Road with a winning draw, as their relegation-threatened opposition took a safety first approach and blocked out for the majority of their innings.

Neal McGrath won the toss and chose to bat first and his side started cautiously, as Chris Evans (33) and Rob Stipanovic (27) laid the foundations with a 58-run opening stand.

Krish Dhokia (27), Mo Sadiq (37) and Barry Taylor (25) all chipped in with useful contributions, but wickets fell at regular intervals.

Tom Binding (17no) and Alex Smith (26no) upped the tempo late on, adding an unbroken 49 for the seventh wicket, as Rugby reached 219-6 from their 50 overs.

Nuneaton showed little interest in chasing this score and, with opener John Allen (75no) carrying his bat, they proved too stubborn for Rugby to shift.

James Barker (2-32), Dhokia (2-24) and Sadiq (2-18) were all in the wickets, but Nuneaton limped to 151-6 and Rugby were restricted to 16 points.

WARCL Division 4 (Monday)

Star Alvis 1sts vs Rugby 2nds

On a miserable day of rain, this was one of the only fixtures that was played in the Warwickshire League and it proved pivotal for Rugby’s promotion hopes.

They started the day in fourth but, with the two teams ahead of them being rained off, they leapfrogged their promotion rivals and finished the day in second place.

A lot of credit must go to Star Alvis for their commitment to getting a game on when they had much less to play for than Rugby, but a 29-over match was squeezed in after a delayed start.

Rugby were asked to bat first, but Barry Taylor gave them a flying start with a brutal 33 from just 13 balls.

Hugh Cochrane (43) and Henry Parker (27) moved Rugby to 107/1, before the home side’s spinners brought their team back into the game.

Mo Sadiq (24) continued his good form, but George Ball (4/23) and Dhruv Pathak (4/30) reduced Rugby to 158/8.

Thankfully, Alex Smith (14*) and Keith Bradbury (14) chipped in with some key runs in the final overs to carry their side to 182/9 from their 29 overs.

Lee Golding, returning from 10 matches on the side-lines with a wrist injury, took a wicket in the opening over of Star Alvis’ reply, before Neal McGrath reduced them to 3 for 2 in the following over.

However, the hosts middle order fought back well through Jas Sandhu (29), Ball (32) and Pathak (23*), as Rugby struggled to take wickets quickly enough.

Bradbury (2/12) and Hem Mistry (1/14) were the only other wicket takers, but the home side never threatened to win the match and settled for a losing draw on 115/5.

Rugby secured 15 points and now have 292 in total, which makes next week’s match against Aston Unity absolutely crucial, as the opponents sit in third on 290 points.

WARCL Division 11 East

Meriden Spartans 2nds vs Rugby 1sts

Rugby’s third team finished their league-winning season with another 24-point victory, largely thanks to a fine performance by Adam Milsom.

Having won the toss, Rugby slumped to 27/5 thanks to a fine spell from Muzzar Zaffar (4/12).

However Milsom (28), Liam Slaughter (21) and Hem Mistry (19) steadied the ship for Rugby and helped them reach a defendable total of 150 all out.

Milsom then took centre stage with the ball, claiming the first three wickets in Spartans’ reply on his way to figures of 10-4-23-3.

It was then over to exciting young leg-spinner Avanish Mistry (3.1-1-10-4) to rip through the middle and lower order, highlighting what an exciting prospect he could be.

There was a wicket each for the Mackay brothers, Calum and Euan, as well as a Tony Pasternak run out, which helped bowl Spartans out for 95 and secure a 55-run win.

Henry Parker

Henry Parker

Charlie Robards

Charlie Robards

Charlie Robards on his way to 65 for Rugby 1sts

Charlie Robards on his way to 65 for Rugby 1sts