CRICKET: Rugby CC 2nd XI

Robards on his way to 212 not out
Robards on his way to 212 not out
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Double century for Robards

Warwickshire Cricket League Division 1 2nd XI

Rugby CC 2nd XI 341 for 3 drew with Bronze CC 2nd XI 177 for 5.

Charlie Robards scored Rugby Cricket Club’s first ever double century in a masterclass of batting at Webb Ellis Road on Saturday. The Rugby CC stalwart stroked 27 fours and seven sixes as he carried his bat in a massive innings total of 341 for 3 declared. Robards had had a long lay off with injury and was making his debut for the 2nd XI so the Bronze bowlers were unlucky to have come up against such a quality opening batsman, and Robards displayed huge skill and impressive stamina in batting so dominantly for 46 overs.

There was no previous record of a Rugby CC batsman ever making a double century in 170 years of cricket at Webb Ellis Road, with Maurice Burton’s 177 not out in the mid-1950s the previous highest individual score. It is fitting that this batting record should now belong to Robards, who has made thousands of runs for the Town in the last 15 years and dedicated so much time and energy to helping RCC become a thriving family club playing high quality cricket.

Robards opened with Alan Milsom who made a perky 26 with some lovely late cuts until he was caught at midwicket with the score on 72 from only 15 overs. Alex Smith settled in with Robards, who had already hit six fours, and he carried on punishing the Bronze bowling. The pair put on 50 in quick time with Smith contributing only four, but then found fluency with some lusty straight drives. Robards was now looking unstoppable, earning boundaries all around the wicket, picking gaps in the field with ease, playing gorgeous drives and big pull shots and cruising to a century within the first 30 overs. Robards passed his 150 in the 40th over, and soon after his previous career best of 158. The pair batted on, with Smith eventually caught in the 45th over for 66 with Robards 190 not out. The pair had set a new 2nd XI record, with a stand of 248 in only 30 overs. A six and a single saw Robards to 197 after 45 overs, and then a neat legside clip became the boundary that saw him to a magnificent 201, which was 212 not out when the declaration came after 46 overs. Robards left the field to a rousing round of applause from the teams and a good number of appreciative spectators.

A superb tea by the Sadiq Family followed and Rugby needed ten wickets in 54 overs. Bronze may have fancied a little tilt at a win with 342 needed at a run rate of 6.3, and on a used wicket still playing well, they set off at a decent pace, making 27 from the first three overs until the impressive swing bowling of young Ryan Littlejohn (7-1-35-1) removed the dangerous Hira Patel for 19, caught behind by Tom Binding. As Matt Hinks (9-1-26-0) and Alan Milsom (10-1-24-0) settled into testing lines, the run chase quickly disappeared, and Rubans Sugatharubans (8-1-16-2) snuck one through the Bronze Skipper Duncan Coley to see Bronze 78 for 2 after 25 overs.

Keith Bradbury (5-0-21-1) trapped Matt Coley LBW for 7, and Rubans bowled the resolute number 2 Jack Stocking for a painstaking 40 from 40 overs. Mo Sadiq (8-2-23-1) continued his good bowling form with a wicket, but then Rugby then spilled a couple of easy catches, dropping 6 in all of varying difficulty. This proved to be key as the wicket played well throughout, allowing the Bronze batsman to block away towards three batting points. 16 points for the seconds see them drop to 5th just below Old Eds, who they play away next weekend in a crucial game that will decide Rugby’s promotion hopes.