Edwards claims six wickets for second week running
WARCL Premier Division
Rugby had to settle for a losing draw in a close-fought encounter against that Olton, despite Owen Edwards claiming six wickets for the second week running.
It was a topsyturvy affair as momentum swung back and forth between the sides all afternoon, before Rugby finally finished 13 runs short of their target, with only one wicket remaining.
The match started ideally for the hosts when Matt Ewer won the toss, chose to bowl first in conducive conditions and was rewarded when Edwards struck an early blow, bowling Nadim Chowdhury in the second over.
Liam Gately (19) and Marc Webb (25) counterattacked for Olton and quickly put their side in the assendency with a series of boundaries, moving to 44-1 after nine overs.
However, Edwards (15-3-52-6) accounted for both batsmen in quick succession during a golden period for Rugby that saw him claim the first six wickets and reduce Olton to 66-6.
With their side in big trouble, Michael Ceillam was joined by Jamie Hawkins and the pair began to rebuild the innings with a watchful partnership.
Hawkins (17) and Sunny Vyakaranam (15) were both dismissed by youngster Ryan Littlejohn (5-0-14-2), but they played important supporting roles, while Ceillam produced a match-defining innings.
A frustrated Rugby failed to make further inroads through a combination of poor bowling and resolute batting from Ceillam (72 not out) as Olton reached 188-8.
On a decent batting surface this score looked below par and the new look opening pair of Charlie Robards and Edwards were immediately into their stride, racing to 16 from the first nine deliveries of Rugby’s reply.
However, disaster struck when a mix-up saw Robards (8) run out in the second over.
Edwards (25) continued to attack but, when he was dubiously given out lbw, the wheels came off for Rugby and they slumped to 62-5.
George Mackenzie was still at the crease and, in only his second game of the summer, he looked very assured and, after taking the sting out of Olton’s attack, he began to move the scoreboard along confidently.
He was joined by Ewer in a partnership that turned the game around for the Webb Ellis Road outfit, adding 90 for the sixth wicket.
Ewer (29) was eventually bowled by Gately with the score 152, leaving Rugby needing 37 to win from the final six overs.
This wicket seemingly sparked Olton back into life and, when Mackenzie was dismissed for a classy 69 in Gately’s following over, Rugby had two new men at the crease and had lost their way.
Gately (4-0-12-4) claimed two more wickets in a fantastic spell at the crunch end of the match, leaving Rugby to block out the last over and finish on 175-9, picking up 10 points from a game they should have won.
Olton v Rugby
Rugby’s second string were out-batted by Olton on Saturday and were content to bat out their overs for a losing draw, never threatening to chase down the hosts’ total of 256-4.
Gareth Simpson’s 90 was the mainstay of Olton’s innings, with good support from Jeremy Bishop (50no), as Rugby struggled to take wickets.
Iffy Mehmood (15-6-47-2) was the pick of Rugby’s attack, while spinners Mo Sadiq and NK Sona took a wicket apiece.
Rugby lost Alan Milsom (5) early in their reply, before a rain break came with the score on 21-1 and took 10 overs out of the match.
This ended any thoughts of a run chase and Rugby went on to make 141-7 from their 40 overs.
Sadiq (43) top scored for the visitors, with Sona (29), Mike Amos-Simpson (27) and Chris Evans (23 not out) also contributing well.
WARCL 3rd XI & Single
Teams Division 1 East
Highway v Rugby
Rugby secured a crucial winning draw at Highway that gives them a great chance of avoiding relegation, built around a fine team effort with the bat.
Batting first, Rugby lost a wicket to the first ball of the match, but fought back well with contributions through the line-up.
Sachin Sard (44) top scored, well supported by Akram Ullah (31), Shozab Mohammed (29) and captain Andy Attwell (23), before some big hitting by Mo Ali (26no) and Asim Chisti (29no) saw Rugby plunder 60 runs from the last five overs.
Rugby’s 245-8 from 45 overs proved too much to interest Highway in a meaningful chase, as the Coventry side batted cautiously from the outset to secure a losing draw.
Adam Milsom (10-2-22-1) was the pick of Rugby’s attack, bowling a threatening burst with the new ball that deserved more, before Attwell (2-30) got in on the act.
Sard claimed the fourth wicket but, with a series of dropped catches, Rugby couldn’t claim any more and Highway finished on 169-4.
The 16 point haul leaves Rugby tenth in the table, one point behind ninth-placed Standard who they play in their final match of the season next week.