CRICKET: Rugby CC 30 points clear at top of table

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Three wins from their three completed games

RCC 1st XI v Atherstone

Rugby travelled to recently relegated Atherstone expecting a tough challenge following Atherstone’s win away from home the week previously.

On an extremely damp and cold afternoon Rugby skipper Matt Ewer lost what could have been a crucial toss and was asked to bat. Missing 4 first team batsmen, through injury and availability from the previous weekend Rugby’s depth would be tested. On a massive ground with a constant layer of dew throughout the game Alex Smith and George Mackenzie went out with instructions to see off the new ball regardless of scoring rate.

It was to prove the largest partnership of the game with the openers occupying the crease for about 20 overs and putting on 35 crucial runs.

Raj Chohan was in at 3 and again performed strongly in difficult circumstances as wickets fell all around him. The middle order once again struggled, this time not through poor shot selection, but through good controlled bowling and a helpful pitch. 90-8 didn’t look great when Raj fell for 39 and another excellent effort. It was left to the tail with Riv Monsell and Neal Mcgrath to take the score to 114-9 at the end of the 50.

Despite looking a small total Rugby were confident having yet to concede more than 114 this season. The ground wasn’t drying much and conditions would be difficult for Atherstone too.

From the first over Matt Ewer put the opposition under pressure with another sharp slip catch taken by Owen Edwards to leave Atherstone at 0-1. Matt Ewer (15-3-27-5) was getting up a head of steam and demolished the top order as 20-1 became 25-5 with a string of bowled and LBW’s. Owen Edwards got in on the act with a lovely delivery that nipped back sharply and hit the top of middle. There was then a mini recovery as Atherstone showed some application and with a mixture of strong front foot defence, big hitting and better running began to put a partnership together.

It was the reintroduction of Neal Mcgrath that broke the back of the game as the rapidly improving swing bowler bowled a string of unplayable deliveries to deliver the great figures of 4-10 and finish Atherstone off for 79. Another 24 points, another team bowled out for under 100.

Four games in and Rugby are 30 points clear of the chasing pack in first place with three wins from their three completed games.

Very early days in this rain affected season but promising signs and they will look to maintain their good form against struggling Pickwick this Saturday at Webb Ellis Road.