Century for debutant Qureshi
Bedworth v Rugby
Rugby returned to form in an entertaining encounter with local rivals Bedworth, largely thanks to a century on debut from Asaad Qureshi.
The hosts had no hesitation in choosing to bowl first upon winning the toss and making use of the overcast conditions, but Rugby’s innings began confidently.
In the absence of pinch-hitter Henry Wilkins, Rugby would have expected to begin their innings at a more sedate pace than usual, but Rishi Tank (20) had different ideas.
He struck five boundaries from his first 11 balls, before edging to slip in the fourth over, but number three Matt Ewer continued the free scoring.
However, when Ewer (20) and Henry Parker (2) fell in quick succession, Rugby were reduced to 65-3.
This brought captain Owen Edwards to join remaining opener Qureshi at the crease and the pair compiled a match-changing partnership.
After a watchful start, both players began to score freely and they compiled a 116-run stand before Edwards (51) was caught at long on.
At this point, Rugby were well placed to score 300, but the innings lost momentum and the new batsmen struggled to rotate the strike.
Qureshi continued to dominate though and reached a magnificent century, before eventually being caught for 118 from 127 balls, including 17 fours and a six.
Frustratingly, Rugby lost their last seven wickets for only 68 runs and were eventually bowled out for 249, as Ryan Parnell (4-41) polished off the tail.
On a good batting pitch, with a fast outfield, Rugby knew this score was only par at best and they would need to make early inroads into Bedworth’s long batting order if they were going to defend their score.
Thankfully, Edwards (9-0-31-3) gave them this early lift removing Valeed Butt (8), Matt Pickering (4) and Scott Friswell (4) in a testing opening burst, as Bedworth slumped to 49-3.
Tom Wilkins (12-0-58-1) picked up a fourth wicket, but opener Parnell continued his good day with a hard hitting knock that took the attack back to Rugby.
Parnell (80) and Matt Payne (16) moved the score to 132-4, before Krish Dhokia and Matt Ewer accounted for both men in consecutive overs.
At 133-6, it appeared that Rugby would romp home, but a swashbuckling innings from Lewis Peacock turned the game dramatically back in Bedworth’s favour.
He smashed 58 from 39 balls and looked to have taken the game away from Rugby, when Dhokia struck again, bowling him with a beautifully flighted delivery.
He’d added 84 in partnership with Heath Parnell and, a few overs later, his side needed just 17 to win from 3 overs, with three wickets in hand.
However, just as it looked like Bedworth were going to cruise home, Rugby’s bowlers found something left in the locker with superb spell of death bowling.
Dhokia’s left arm spin was
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partnered by Lee Golding, as the next two overs yielded just 7 runs and suddenly Rugby were back in the hunt.
Dhokia (8-0-34-3) took the final over and, after a Parnell (42) was run out and a stumping soon followed, Bedworth ended up on 245-9.
Rugby secured the winning draw and 18 points to end a run of miserable form and the team will take renewed confidence into next week’s clash with Coleshill.
Rugby 2nds vs Sheldon Marlborough 1sts
Rugby’s second string had to settle for 11 points and a losing draw on Saturday as their run chase came up 31 runs short, despite Barry Taylor’s 82.
Rob Stipanovic won the toss for Rugby and chose to bowl first, a decision which was immediately rewarded when James Barker bowled Zaheer Shrewani with the third ball of the match.
A confident partnership between Taimoor Mian (41) and Wasim Rehman (50) kept Rugby waiting for any further success, until the spinners got to work on the middle order.
Naresh Kaushal (10-1-27-3) and Mo Sadiq (10-0-38-3) shared six quick wickets, before Graham Hill (47) and Adrian Maguire (23) took Sheldon Marlborough past the 200 mark.
Jon Sage (1/15) and Barker (2/57) claimed the final wickets, as the visitors were bowled out for 214.
Rugby’s reply followed a similar pattern to the first innings, losing an early wicket, before a big stand between Chris Evans and Barry Taylor.
Sheldon’s opening attack bowled well, which meant Rugby had to start very watchfully and, with rain reducing the match to 44 overs each, they were always behind the required run rate.
Once Evans (49) and Taylor (82) were both dismissed looking to up the tempo, only Alex Smith (22) really troubled the scorers and Rugby ran out of time to get close to Sheldon’s score, closing on 183/6.
Division 10 East
Rugby 3rds vs Bulkington 2nds
Rugby’s 3rd team picked up a comfortable win against Bulkington, chasing down the opposition’s total with six wickets and 16 overs to spare.
Bulkington batted first and Martin Bassett (51) led from the top of the order, but Rugby’s bowlers kept it tight throughout.
Adam Milsom (2/48), Matt Johnson (2/8) and Liam Slaughter (1/32) were the only wicket takers, supported by two run outs, as the village side reached 167/7 from 45 overs.
Jack Coleman (15) and Abhay Lal (29) opened Rugby’s reply confidently, but two wickets each for Russell Scowan and Chris Sear gave Bulkington an opening.
This didn’t last long however with Akshay Vaghela (64 not out) and youngster Shreyas Honnalli (45 not out) easing Rugby to a 24-point win.