CRICKET: Rugby CC unbeaten in seven games now
Steady climb sees them fifth in Premier Division
Ambleside vs Rugby
Rugby produced a dominant performance with the bat on Saturday to continue their impressive form, securing a winning draw that extended their unbeaten run to seven matches.
During this time, they’ve had six positive results and one losing draw, although a lacklustre effort in the field meant they were frustrated not to take maximum points this week.
Owen Edwards won the toss and had no hesitation in batting first on hot day, as his side targeted a 24-point victory over a struggling Ambleside outfit.
Asaad Qureshi (34) and Rishi Tank (23) opened Rugby’s innings with a 59-run partnership, but both batsmen fell without the addition of a run.
However, Matt Ewer joined Mike Powell at the crease and the pair immediately put Rugby on the front foot again with an aggressive partnership.
Ewer (65) was in sublime touch, passing fifty in no time, before frustratingly being run out when he looked on course for a century.
Rugby were perfectly set with the score on 152-3, which allowed Edwards and Powell to continue the free scoring and they soon began to up the tempo further.
Powell (101 not out) reached a chanceless century, oozing class throughout the innings, while Edwards struck 85 not out from 51 balls, before declaring with his side on 325-3 from 48 overs.
Ambleside’s reply starter terribly, as Lee Golding picked up a wicket with just the second ball, but Rugby’s bowlers lacked their usual control.
Henry Wilkins shared the new ball and took the key wicket of Sam Neale (17), before grabbing a brilliant one-handed catch off Edwards’ bowling to reduce the hosts to 68-3.
At this point, Rugby looked well set for victory, but some resilient and gung-ho batting from Ambleside kept the Town at bay, assisted by some sloppy fielding and inconsistent bowling.
Number four batsman David Mills had a streaky start and survived a life just before he reached 50, but defied Rugby with a superb innings, mixing a string of boundaries with watchful defence when it was needed. Wickets fell at regular intervals, but not regularly enough for Rugby, despite a nagging spell from Powell (11-2-35-2).
Tom Wilkins (1-66), Ewer (1-40) and Henry Wilkins (2/38) picked up further wickets, but Mills ended unbeaten with a magnificent 140 not out.
His side benefited from some attacking Rugby fields, but made the most of this and closed on 250-8, to pick up nine points, while Rugby achieved 17.
Warwickshire Division 3
Rugby 2nds v
Marston Green 1sts
In a match that ebbed and flowed, Rugby CC 2nd XI came out with the lion’s share of the points on offer in a hard fought game against Marston Green.
Stand-in skipper and birthday boy Jonny Sage won the toss and had no hesitation in batting first, hoping his side would capitalise on last week’s strong batting display.
Things got off to the worst possible start however, as Raj Chohan was trapped lbw to the first ball of the match.
Alex Smith joined opener Bhavik Rathod at the crease and the pair set their stall out to get through the lively new ball pairing of Mo Khan and Ishmael Hussain.
Having weathered the early storm, Rathod in particular began to play more expansively and the pair added 66 for the second wicket before both men were dismissed for 38.
Three wickets fell in quick succession to leave Rugby struggling on 77-4, but Rugby’s lower order fought back and showed the value in having depth.
Naresh Kaushal (45), Sage (42) and Vish Rathod (21) all made valuable contributions to lift Rugby’s total to 242 all out.
Marston Green’s reply started confidently and the scoreboard moved to 32, before V Rathod made the first break through.
Matt Johnson and Rathod shared two more quick wickets, including the dangerous Awais Hussain (34), as the Birmingham outfit slumped to 53-3.
A solid partnership then developed as Marston Green slowly came back into contention, but 102-3 soon became 110-6, as wickets continued to fall in groups.
However, the visitors opening bowlers Khan and Hussan were now at the crease and showed their value with the bat as well.
Both batsmen were keen to attack Rugby’s bowlers and the runs began to flow quickly in a partnership of 98.
As the game swung dramatically back in Martson Green’s favour, it looked like they were on track for the victory, when Rathod returned with a key wicket.
He burst one through Khan’s defences, to clean bowl him for 50, before Sage took two wickets in an over which included Hussain (50).
Finally Marston Green had to settle for the losing draw, batting out the last over and closing on 227-9, as Rugby picked up 18 points and moved up to sixth in the table.
All of Rugby’s bowlers performed well, with the wickets shared between V Rathod (12-3-53-3), Johnson (12-2-42-3), Kaushal (12-1-48-1) and Sage (3-0-14-2).
WARCL Division 10 East
Ambleside 3rds vs Rugby 3rds
Rugby’s third string kept their promotion hunt on track with a comfortable 125-run win.
Batting first, Akshay Vaghela (79) led from the top of the order and shared an 86-run stand with Rob Stipanovic (36) for the second wicket.
There was another entertaining cameo from Suj Barhey (41) and, despite a lower order collapse, Rugby’s total of 236 all out was always going to be too many.
Ambleside’s reply struggled from the start, as Adam Milsom (10-1-26-4) continued his good form with the ball and did most of the damage.
The other wicket takers were Ryan Littlejohn (2/23), Rubans (2/11), Tom Mitchell (1/18) and Calum Mackay (1/2), as the home side were dismissed for 111 in the 39th over.