Rugby CC 1st XI  in action earlier this season
Rugby CC 1st XI in action earlier this season

Great batting performance in victory over title hopefuls

WARCL Premier Division

Bedworth vs Rugby

Rugby produced a long-overdue display of batting dominance that eased them to victory over title-hopefuls Bedworth on Saturday.

While Rugby were already confined to a mid-table finish, Bedworth entered the encounter just eight points adrift of league leaders Aston Manor, but a quality display from Rugby ended their promotion chances.

Despite the bowler-friendly conditions at the Welfare Miners Park, Bedworth opted to bat first when they won the toss in search of the maximum 24 points.

Rugby’s opening attack of Matt Ewer and Owen Edwards has tested opposition batting all summer and Bedworth’s openers had to battle hard against the moving ball early on.

However, only one early wicket fell, when Edwards found the edge of Ross Parnell’s bat and wicket keeper Chris Evans claimed a fine one-handed catch.

Having got through the opening spells largely unscathed, Bedworth were well positioned to begin accelerating but Steve Ward (5-0-29-2) claimed two wickets in an over to put the hosts on the back foot.

This saw David Jakeman join his older brother Jason at the crease and the pair repaired the damage impressively in the face of some accurate Rugby bowling.

Their partnership was finally ended by the impressive Hem Mistry (7-0-25-1), when Jason Jakeman (62) was caught in the deep trying to up the tempo, before NK Sona (10-1-41-1) accounted for Thomas Dangarembizi (2) soon after.

Bedworth weren’t finished yet and number seven Lewis Peacock counter attacked effectively to put the game back in the balance.

However, he was removed by the returning Edwards (13-3-36-3) to another excellent catch, this time by Henry Parker, as Rugby produced their best fielding display of the summer.

Ewer (15-3-67-1) finally removed David Jakeman (56) and was unlucky to be left with such unflattering figures after a sensational opening spell that deserved much more.

These late wickets restricted Bedworth who closed their 50 overs on 200/8, which was a good effort but, with the sun now out, it looked a very gettable total.

Rugby’s openers Charlie Robards and Dave Mackenzie soon underlined this point, showing there were no demons in the wickets with a series of classy strokes from the outset of their sides response.

Robards unfurled a series of his trademark off-side drives, while Mackenzie punished anything over-pitched, including mammoth six over mid-wicket.

They added 95, before Mackenzie (45) was caught at deep cover and Robards (54) followed soon after, as Rugby began to wobble.

Ed Benfield, Parker and Sona all departed cheaply, contributing just four runs between them and Suddenly Rugby were in trouble on 125 for five.

This brought Ward to join Ewer at the crease and, with a buoyant Bedworth sensing the momentum had swung in their favour, the batsmen were up against it.

But, after a watchful start, the pair began to accumulate runs confidently through sensible shot selection and good running, gradually moving back into the driving seat.

Before long the game had turned back in Rugby’s favour and, with both batsmen finishing unbeaten on 42, the Webb Ellis Roaders cruised to a five-wicket victory.

With only one league match remaining, it was the kind of assured batting that has been missing from Rugby’s game this season, but it is a great indication of what the team is capable of and the kind of performance they will want to replicate regularly next summer.

WARCL Premier Division 2nds

Rugby vs Bedworth

Rugby suffered a six-wicket loss against league leaders Bedworth on Saturday, but it was a closer game than the scoreline suggests, as the team fought hard against a strong unit.

Batting first in tough conditions, Rugby had to work hard for their runs and wickets fell regularly through their innings.

Adam Milsom (31) top scored, along with a series of handy contributions, particularly from Mo Sadiq, Neal McGrath and Andy Attwell, as Rugby reached 154-9.

Jamie Barker claimed a victim early in the visitor’s reply, but Bedworth’s batsmen put a high value on their wickets and Rugby struggled to make significant inroads.

McGrath was the pick of his team’s attack, with two wickets in the middle overs, and Sadiq grabbed a fourth, as Bedworth ground out the runs.

However, with wickets in hand, they were able to accelerate in the final overs and reached the winning line four down to leave Rugby with just three points when they deserved more.

Rugby 6-a-side Tournament

Rugby hosted a six-a-side tournament on Saturday to raise funds for the club and a great day was had by all in attendance.

The standard of cricket varied dramatically, but the entertainment was consistently high and the competition was played in great spirit.

The eventual winners were the aptly named Vest Indies who beat the Real MCC in the final, chasing down 62 with one ball to spare in the five-over matches.

The club would like to extend its thanks to all the sponsors who supported the event, which included Gray-Nicolls, the Merchants Inn, Bombay Tandoori and the Queen Jubilee Centre among others.

There were also important contributions from the volunteers who helped out, especially Gary Ward and John Piper (umpires), Lisa Connor (bar manager) and Steve Ward (head of logistics).