Two wins and top of the table
RCC 1st XI v Pak Shaheen
Rugby decided to bat first when winning the toss despite a damp pitch in order to ensure that the maximum 24 points could be claimed with a win.
On a difficult pitch the first 10 overs proved challenging with Robards and Lloyd looking solid but struggling to get the runs flowing.
This was to prove the theme throughout the innings as a procession of batsman got in and then out as soon as they tried to lift the pace.
The one constant was 16-year-old Raj Chohan who provided the glue to the innings with a gritty 49, more than double what any other batsman achieved in the match. He will need to demonstrate that in different circumstances he can score quicker and dominate. In the context of this match it was a super effort and with the middle order of Edwards, Ewer, Hughes, James and Mackenzie only able to contribute 51 combined, he made the difference between a score in the low hundreds and Rugby’s eventual total of 168-9.
At tea 168 looked like a slightly below par score on a traditionally high scoring ground but it didn’t take long for it to be proved a good effort in these conditions.
The Pak Shaheen top order was quickly under pressure as stingy openers Matt Ewer (7-0-13-1) and then Riv Monsell broke through and reduced Pak Shaheen to 23-3.
With a field set to contain the aggressive batsman forcing them to play risky shots to score and a committed and motivated fielding effort the build up of pressure proved too much and the accurate bowling of Riv Monsell (13-3-26-4) proved once again what a force he is at this level.
The introduction of Owen Edwards then brought some fire to proceedings as he ripped through the defences of the remaining Pak Shaheen opener and exposed the lower middle order – a cracking delivery that left the left hander, took the edge and a great catch at slip by Stuart Lloyd. A sequence of quick straight balls and cunning off cutters from Edwards read the pitch and situation perfectly and gave the home debutant the stunning figures of 6.4-0-12-5. Pak Shaheen all out for 59.
With two games played and two wins Rugby are currently top of the table and 16 points clear courtesy of being able to get an extra game in through the early season gloom and rain then most other sides have managed.
Tougher challenges await with the first being this Saturday away at an impressive looking Atherstone unit who won convincingly in their first game of the season.
Rugby 2nd XI vs Pak Shaheen
Match abandoned – waterlogged pitch.
Rugby 3rd XI vs Nuneaton 5th XI
This match was the competitive debut for the Rugby 3rd XI. As league debutants no one was quite sure what to expect but with strong availability there was confidence that the team would be able to cope with the challenge.
Captain Nick Graham took the positive step of batting first and there followed a tight opening with only 11 on the board after 6 overs. The openers were just settling in however and there followed a great start as Tom Binding and Ash Koria (87) put together a huge opening partnership. Jack Coleman on debut joined the fun late on and scored a rapid 66 in just 7 overs at the end.
A massive score of 327-1 from their 45 overs with Binding the undoubted star with an unbeaten 127 and a first century from the Rugby stalwart.
That wasn’t the end of the milestones for the day though as Rugby took the field. New player Ravinder Sharma and youngster Sachin Sard opened the bowling and were swiftly amongst the wickets with 2 each. Jack Coleman completed an impressive all round debut with 2 more.
The icing on the proverbial cake came from Andy Atwell, in his first competitive fixture for many years he served up a hat trick – all 3 bowled, all 3 middle stump. Nuneaton all out for 122 and the 3rds finished their first competitive game with 24 points and the promise of a successful season.