Maximum points from all three league games
It was a great Saturday of cricket for Rugby Cricket Club with the all three sides claiming the maximum 24 points, as the club celebrated the best summer’s day yet with its first 72-point haul of 2014.
WARCL Premier Division
Rugby v Solihull Blossomfield
Rugby produced their best performance so far this season to secure a resounding eight-wicket victory over newly-promoted Solihull Blossomfield.
With the sun baking down on a fine Webb Ellis Road track, it seemed like a great toss to win when the visitors’ captain called correctly and chose to bowl first, but Rugby’s bowlers had different ideas.
Matt Ewer and Owen Edwards are forming a potent new-ball attack this summer and produced testing opening spells, although Blossomfield’s openers progressed to 22 before losing a wicket.
Edwards struck first, when he got one to nip back from outside off stump with Jack Lewis (14) shouldering arms, before Ewer trapped Mohammed Altaf lbw in the following over.
Sheraz Khan (22) and Richard Weaver (11) worked hard to see off the seamers, but there was no rest bite with the introduction of Rugby’s in-form spinners Steve Ward and Krish Dhokia.
Having reached 46-2 from 17 overs at the first drinks break, both batsmen fell in quick succession, one apiece to each bowler and Rugby turned the screw.
Runs were almost impossible to come by, as the visitors struggled to 87/4 from 34 overs, with Ward (14-2-34-1) particularly miserly.
The batsmen had to try to lift the rate but, as soon as they tried to do so, wickets began to tumble again with Dhokia (10-1-28-2) claiming his second and Tom Mitchell executing a direct hit run out.
It was then back to the opening bowlers with Ewer (13.5-3-33-3) and Edwards (8-4-14-3) knocking over the tail with little trouble, as Blossomfield slumped to 113 all out.
Rugby lost Ward (2) early in their reply, but Charlie Robards and Edwards soon had the scoreboard ticking over briskly.
Although Edwards (16) was rather carelessly caught at square leg, Henry Parker joined Robards at the crease and continued the momentum.
Robards was at his classy best, scoring freely all around the wicket and propelling Rugby towards the winning line, while Parker unleashed some of his signature straight drives.
The target was achieved in the 21st over, with Robards (63no) and Parker (22no) cruising home to confirm a comprehensive win for their side.
WARCL Premier Division 2nds
Moseley Ashfield v Rugby
Rugby travelled to Moseley looking to continue the fine form that saw them convincingly beat league leaders Aston Manor the previous week and, fighting back from a perilous position with the bat, did so in style thanks to a rampant bowling effort.
With the sun beating down and small boundaries on offer, Neal McGrath had no hesitation in opting to bat first when winning the toss, but the day didn’t start so well for Rugby.
The top order crumbled, with Chris Evans (19) and Akram Ullah (18) the only ones to make any impact, as Rugby slumped to 96-8 at the hands of Amir Hamza (5-56).
At this point Rubans (26) joined Iffy Mehmood (21) at the crease and the pair compiled a crucial partnership, as their lower-order hitting gave the bowlers something meaningful to defend.
The final total of 147 all out was still below par and, whilst the bowling was controlled and accurate, some of the dismissals were soft and in batting only 39 of their allocated overs, Rugby had handed the momentum to Moseley.
Below par it may have been, but that was irrelevant once captain Neal McGrath got the new ball in his hand and tore into the Moseley Ashfield batting line-up.
McGrath (13-6-24-5) claimed his second five-wicket haul in just four matches so far this summer, while young opening bowler Ryan Littlejohn set the tone by claiming a wicket in his first over.
It was then over to the spin of Nik Sona (6-1-16-2) and Mo Sadiq (1-0-3-2) to finish the game in a hurry and bowl the home side out for just 66 from 27 overs.
Rugby’s 81-run victory moves them up to third in the table, just 10 points off the top spot, a great effort in their first season of Premier Division cricket.
WARCL 3rd XI & Single Team East
Newbold v Rugby 3rds
It was the Sachin Sard show for Rugby’s 3rd XI, as the young seam bowler ensured his club made it a hat-trick of victories for the day with a six-wicket haul.
Earlier on, Rugby batted first and posted a daunting total of 250-6, built around a fantastic opening stand from Chris Langman (77) and Jamie Kerr (38), while Sard also chipped in with the bat, contributing 35 runs to the cause.
Newbold’s batsmen were then blown away by Sard’s burst and slumped to 82 all out, as Rugby ran out resounding 168-run victors.