Three-wicket win moves Rugby into second spot in the table
WARCL Premier Division
Rugby v Fillongley
A hard-working performance from Rugby saw them overcome a stubborn Fillongley side on Saturday to record a three-wicket win that moved them up to second in the table.
After a fortnight of almost unbroken rain, it was a credit to Rugby’s grounds team that any cricket was possible at all, but more runs were scored at Webb Ellis Road than any other ground in the division.
The inclement weather meant that the wicket was softer and slower than usual, so Matt Ewer had little hesitation in choosing to bowl first, but Fillongley’s top order dug in from the outset.
Ewer and Owen Edwards were tight with the new ball, but were unable to prise a breakthrough until the introduction of Steve Ward’s spin in the 17th over.
Ward (7-2-23-1) struck in his first over, but Chris Moore and Ahsan Sayed built another impressive partnership and put their side in a commanding position at 114/1.
Mo Sadiq (6-0-22-1) eventually removed Sayed (32) and Hugh Cochrane (7-1-27-1) bowled an accurate spell when the batsmen were looking to build on the foundations laid by the top order and up the tempo.
The opening bowlers returned to close out the innings and Ewer (15-1-44-2) finally got Moore to edge behind for 67.
Edwards (13-1-40-1) also picked up a late wicket as Fillongley failed to fully capitalise on their early efforts and finished on 187/6, which looked a par score given the difficult batting conditions and slow outfield.
Rugby’s reply started well with Charlie Robards, who had earlier been electric in the field, immediately into his stride with some classy strokes.
However, when he was too early on a drive and hit one straight to extra cover for 19, an end was opened up and Rugby’s top order struggled to build meaningful partnerships.
Ward (9), Edwards (11) and Henry Parker (11) all got starts and got out and suddenly 29 without loss had become 91/6 and Rugby were in big trouble.
At this point, Sadiq joined Ewer at the crease and the pair produced a crucial stand that turned the game around.
Sadiq was aggressive from the outset, taking the attack to Fillongley’s bowlers and reducing the pressure on his captain who was able to take his time at the other end.
Although Sadiq (28) was dismissed with the score on 137, Rugby were back in the game and Keith Bradbury joined Ewer to continue the fight back.
Rugby had always been on track with the required run rate, so caution and alert running were the order of the day as the batsmen slowly whittled down the target.
There was one period where the runs appeared to dry up, but Bradbury got down on one knee and broke the shackles with a huge slog sweep for six of opening bowler Daud Sayed (15-1-62-3).
Ewer (46no) played the perfect captain’s knock, simply doing what was needed to get his side to the winning line, while Bradbury (23no) struck the winning runs with eight balls and three wickets in hand.
It was a key win for Rugby, as they enter a run of difficult fixtures, but will head to Olton & West Warwicks next week with their title challenge well on track.
WARCL Premier Division 2nds
Highway vs Rugby
A depleted Rugby second string suffered their second defeat of the season, succumbing to a six-wicket loss to Highway.
Rugby lost the toss, were put into bat and lost wickets from the outset on a damp wicket.
Stand-in skipper Chris Evans opened the innings and top scored with 45, but lacked any real support and the score was just 63/5 when he was dismissed.
Iffy Mehmood (28) and Adam Milsom (17) offered some resistance in the lower order but Rugby were bowled out for 134 in the 38th over.
A wicket apiece to opening bowlers Sachin Sard and Mehmood reduced Highway to 22/2 in their reply, but Rugby’s hopes were doused by Matthew Seddon (31), Kyle Miller (38no) and Dipesh Patel (43).
Rubans and Alex Smith also picked up a wicket each, but the Coventry outfit reached the winning line in the 27th over.
WARCL Single Team & 3rd XI Division 1 East
Knowle Village 3rds vs Rugby 3rds
It was a bad day at the office for a 10-man Rugby 3rd team who fought hard against Knowle Village, but ended up on the wrong side of a low-scoring affair.
Rugby batted first and started well through Chris Langman (13) and Muhammed Zohaib (28), but their dismissals sparked a collapse.
Only Andy Attwell (15) and Chandrasekar Elagovan (12) also reached double figures, as Rugby were bowled out for 91.
Shozab Mohammed (10-4-13-1) bowled a tight opening spell for Rugby, including a very sharp return catch, before Attwell (7-0-14-3) put his side in with a chance.
However, the home side stuck to their task and crossed the winning line with three wickets in hand.