CRICKET: Rugby CC 1st XI win promotion and 3rds secure title

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Another great weekend for Rugby Cricket Club as the first team sealed their second successive promotion and will be playing in the Warwickshire League Premier division in 2013.

The 3rds have sealed the champions spot and promotion in their first season, a huge result for them in their first year and testament to the strength in depth the club has developed.

The seconds also came away with a critical 24 point win that means that they will also seal promotion on Saturday if they can win their game.

Rugby 1st XI v

Walsall

A day to forget on the pitch but joy off it for Rugby 1st XI as they lost their second game of the season against Walsall YMF.

Fortunately the lead the side had built up over the season and the failure of their closest rivals to win means that promotion was secured for the second consecutive year.

With their opponents late, starting the game with 8 men and Rugby’s huge lead at the top of the table, complacency was perhaps inevitable for Rugby and batting first this proved to be an issue as one batsman after another got themselves out unnecessarily. All five of Rugby’s top order out caught, playing poor shots to bad balls on a slow wicket, giving the Walsall fielders gift after gift.

Only Ewer (52) was able to stay at the crease for any length of time.

A score of 153 was below par on a surface that was drying out and Rugby needed discipline and a strong fielding effort to defend it. Unfortunately it was not to be as with a mixture of luck and aggressive hitting Walsall made the target look easy.

Dropped catches and poor fielding were evident, as well as a large slice of bad luck, but for just about the first time this season Rugby looked well off their usual pace, Walsall chased the score down for the loss of only two wickets.

An unhappy group of players trudged off the field knowing they hadn’t done themselves justice but the mood soon changed as results filtered through from other grounds and it became evident that promotion had been achieved anyway with two games still to play.

n Despite a poor performance on the day, promotion is thoroughly deserved, and with a decent performance at home to Ansley on Saturday the 1st XI will be crowned champions of their division.

Rugby 2nd XI v

Solihull Blossomfield

Rugby 2nd XI 202 for 6 (24 points) beat Solihull Blossomfield 72 all out (2 pts) by 130 runs.

Rugby CC’s twos took a step closer to promotion with a resounding win away at struggling Solihull Blossomfield.

With a green and damp wicket on show, skipper Keith Bradbury lost the toss and Rugby were predictably asked to bat. Bradbury and Alan Milsom played carefully to some decent seam bowling, and had posted 32 when Bradbury was LBW for 11.

A welcome return for Lee James at no.3 saw him up the run rate with a classy 25, but Henry Parker was run out for 2 to leave Rugby 88 for 3 from 27 overs.

Milsom was looking solid, though, playing crisp drives and was well supported by the in-form Tom Binding (23).

Milsom passed 50 and Tom Mitchell played the perfect cameo, whacking 2 fours and 2 big sixes in a blistering 30.

At 194 for 8 from 49 overs, Milsom needed 5 runs to get to a hundred, and fittingly it came with the final ball, leaving Milsom a fantastic 100 not out, and Rugby a very decent 202 for 6.

Milsom’s mammoth effort meant Rugby’s confidence was sky high and they continued their momentum into the field, as Neal McGrath (7-0-17-2) and Matt Hinks took early wickets, reducing the home side to 15 for 5 after the first seven overs.

Hinks continued to take wickets, well supported by Rubans (5-2-5-1)as Blossomfield slumped to 57 for 8, Hinks ending with 5 for 37 from 11 overs.

The coup de grace was applied by the big turning off breaks of Akshay Vaghela (2-0-5-2) as the innings ended on 72 all out after only 26 overs.

n Rugby’s 24 points sees them top the division, 10 points ahead of Knowle Village in second, and 32 points of third placed Bournville.

Rugby 3rd XI v

Spartans

With both sides already promoted the final game of the season for Rugby 3rds was a battle to see who would emerge on top of the division.

Rugby’s only defeat of the season had come in the home fixture to Spartans.

The 3rds made sure there was no repeat as they skittled Spartans for only 81.

Rugby’s reply was never in doubt and the target was quickly knocked off as Coleman blasted a half century.

Rugby finish top of their division with, from nine games played, a remarkable eight 24-point wins with only one loss.

n A wonderful opening season for the 3rds who’ve displayed a close team spirit all year that’s been evident to all in the club, having blooded many players who either haven’t played cricket in years or youngsters who have never played senior cricket their performance was unanticipated, but in the end completely dominant.

They’re all looking forwards to greater challenges in 2013.

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