League campaign begins on April 22
Pre-season friendly: Kenilworth v Rugby
Rugby CC kicked off their 2017 season in positive fashion, beating Kenilworth by 95 runs in a high-scoring 40-over friendly.
On an unusually hot day for early April, Rugby’s captain Owen Edwards won the toss and chose to bat first under blue skies.
After losing Henry Wilkins (4) in the second over, Asaad Qureshi and Rishi Tank laid a solid platform in a confident second-wicket partnership.
Although Tank (21) was brilliantly caught at slip by Matthew Casey off Neil Goodman’s bowling, Edwards joined Qureshi and upped the tempo immediately.
Eddison Ruswa removed Qureshi (44) and Matt Ewer (0) in his first over, but it was all Rugby from this point.
A brutal counter attack from Edwards saw Ruswa’s figures dented from 2-0-3-2 to 4-0-44-2, as Rugby took control.
Edwards retired on 101 to allow his team mates to enjoy some time in the middle and Steve Ward took advantage of this with a boundary-laden 39.
Henry Parker (19) and Hugh Cochrane (26 not out) both looked confident, before Jon Sage (10 not out) finished the innings with an audacious scoop shot for four.
Rugby’s total of 277/7 from 40 overs was an unlikely target for the hosts, but they also made the most of the the good batting conditions, making Rugby work hard throughout their reply.
Ewer claimed an early wicket, but number three Tom Booker immediately timed the ball well and got the scoreboard moving.
On a slow pitch, the seam bowlers on both sides struggled to make inroads, but Dave Marshall was the one bowler to find some extra life.
He caught and bowled Phil Edmunds (14) in his first over, before producing the ball of the day to clean bowl Chris Prophet (7), showcasing the impact he could make in his first full season at the club.
Booker continued to bat confidently and, despite a wicket each for Wilkins and Cochrane, Kenilworth reached 182/6 from their allocation,
Sage removed Booker (91) late in the day, while Patrick Howard (26) and Casey (22 not out) also made useful contributions.
It was a promising start for Rugby, who have another friendly against Nuneaton next week, as they look to hit the ground running when their league campaign begins on April 22 and improve on their slow starts of the last two years.