CRICKET: Agonising last-ball defeat for Rugby CC 1st XI

Charlie Robards on his way to a top score of 44 for Rugby CC 2nds on Saturday
Charlie Robards on his way to a top score of 44 for Rugby CC 2nds on Saturday

Pictures from the 2nds' innings against Massey Ferguson

PIctures by Mike Baker - Charlie Robards and Bhavik Rathod batting for the 2nd XI against Massey Ferguson

Bhavik Rathod batting for the 2nds at Webb Ellis Road on Saturday

Bhavik Rathod batting for the 2nds at Webb Ellis Road on Saturday

WARCL Premier Division
Coventry & NW vs Rugby

Rugby suffered an agonising, last-ball defeat in an exciting encounter with Coventry & NW, as the home side rode their luck to a three-wicket win.
After early rain reduced the game to 45-overs, Owen Edwards won the toss, chose to bat first and watched openers Lee James (21) and Jeevan Barhey (10) move confidently to 41 without loss.
However, an all-too-familiar top order collapse saw three wickets fall for the addition of one run and Coventry had taken control, largely thanks to spinner George Neal (13-4-30-4).
Edwards (27) looked in good touch and started to wrestle the momentum back for his side but, when he fell to one of two incredible one-handed catches in quick succession, Rugby had slumped to 80-6.
This brought Michael Hughes to join Henry Parker in the middle and the pair rebuilt the innings, watchfully at first before starting to up the tempo with aggressive running.
Hughes (20) played the supporting role in a 79-run stand, whilst Parker (53 not out) went through the gears impressively and propelled Rugby to 171-9 from their 45 overs.
Vishaal Rathod took the new ball for Rugby and gave his side the perfect start, nipping one back through the defence of Manbir Johal to bowl him with the first ball of Coventry’s reply.
Rathod bowled a superb opening spell, beating the bat on many occasions, but went without further reward, a theme that was continued when Neal McGrath was introduced at the other end.
Taran Toor and William Iles battled hard against some testing Rugby bowling, adding 59 for the second wicket before McGrath finally trapped Toor (25) lbw.
Captain Vikram Sodhi joined Iles and they added another 30, but two wickets in as many overs threw the game wide open, as McGrath and Edwards removed Iles (47) and overseas Vaibhav Panwar (0) respectively, thanks to sharp catches by wicket keeper Hughes and Parker in the gully.
Rugby continued to take wickets at regular intervals, which gradually pushed the required rate above a run-a-ball, with McGrath finishing a whole-hearted spell with figures of 13-2-45-3.
Rathod (13-3-44-3) returned and picked up two wickets in his second spell, crucially including that of Sodhi (31), as the game went down to the wire.
With two overs to go, Coventry needed 19 to win and Rugby looked marginal favourites, but a six from Greg Ricketts (17 not out) in the penultimate over left them needing 7 from the last and a scrambled single from the very final delivery secured the win.

WARCL Division 4
Rugby 2nds vs Massey Ferguson 1sts

Rugby’s second string succumbed to a five-wicket defeat against title-chasing Massey Ferguson, dropping to eighth in the table in the process.
After being put into bat, Rugby started well through captain Charlie Robards (44), who was well supported by Alex Smith (26), as they moved their side into a strong position at 90/3.
However, once their partnership was broken, Rugby’s lower order offered little resistance and the final five batsmen scores just 11 runs between them.
Rugby were bowled out for 130 in the 46th over, with Omar Hussain (12-2-21-3) the pick of the bowlers.
Despite posting a below-par total, Rugby’s new ball attack of Adam Milsom (2/29) and Bhavik Rathod (2/26) soon gave the Webb Ellis Roaders hope of victory.
They shared the first four wickets, before Mo Sadiq added a fifth and reduced the visitors to 54/5.
Having got into the driving seat, Rugby were left frustrated as Pavan Kumar (46 not out) and Arslan Awan (37 not out) combined to add an unbroken 78-run sixth-wicket stand and see their side home.

Division 11 East
Rugby 3rds vs Atherstone 2nds

Rugby’s in-form third string continued their promotion push, dominating a winning draw to take the lion’s share of the points against Atherstone.
After choosing to bat first, Rugby started cautiously through opener Tom Binding (23), laying the foundations for big-hitting Ollie Tapscott (82) to take over and smash his third fifty in five innings.
Mark Palmer (26) and Tom Smith (30 not out) also chipped in with handy runs in Rugby’s totally 258/8 from 45 overs.
Atherstone never looked interested in a run chase, focused on securing a draw and obtaining batting points, which made it hard for Rugby to force a victory.
Mohan Karri (2/25) was the main wicket taker, whilst Anszar Ahmed, Jag Barhey, Will Browne and Smith all took one apiece, as the visiting side reached 182/6 from their allocation.

Sunday Friendly
Rugby vs Barford

Rugby batted first in this enjoyable Sunday friendly and opener Zach Wenham (103 not out) carried his bat through the entire 40 overs.
He was well supported by fellow youngsters Augustus Wenham (24) and Charlie Crinigan (18) in their total of 190/3.
This proved just short of a winning score, as Barford chased down Rugby’s total with nine balls and four wickets to spare, despite a committed effort from a young side in the field.
Jamie Frearson (3/28) was the pick of Rugby’s attack, whilst Matt Raffell and Sanin Salvio took a wicket each and Jamie Carr bowled with excellent control, despite not taking a wicket.