CRICKET In-form Ewer key in Rugby's comprehensive win over Standard

Matt Ewer - pictured batting in the opening game of the season - took six wickets against Standard
Matt Ewer - pictured batting in the opening game of the season - took six wickets against Standard

3rd XI start their season with 124-run success

Warwickshire Premier Division

Rugby vs Standard

Rugby bounced back to winning ways with a comprehensive 119-run victory over Standard, as Matt Ewer continued his superb start to the season with six wickets.

Knowing that his side needed to respond to a chastening defeat last week, Owen Edwards won the toss and elected to bat first, despite conditions looking favourable for bowlers.

He may have been regretting this decision when Hugh Cochrane (4) was unfortunately caught down the leg side in the first over, before Michael Hughes and Lee James started to build a platform for their side.

They moved the score onto 32 but when Hughes (9) became Steve Vaughan’s second victim, Standard were in the ascendancy.

Number four Edwards decided to take the attack back to the bowlers and his mini counter punch gave Rugby’s some much needed momentum.

James and Edwards (31) added 65 for the third wicket before the home side’s captain was bowled round his legs, but Rugby were now on top on a difficult wicket where 200 looked above par.

James (60) reached his half century soon after, having provided the crucial backbone to Rugby’s innings, and was well supported by Jeevan Barhey (23).

An intelligent mix of power and placement from Henry Wilkins (35) installed important impetus in the final ten overs, before Rugby were bowled out for 210 with one ball of their allocation remaining.

Standard’s reply started both badly and bizarrely in the first over, with Ewer having a huge lbw shout turned down against Tom Kidd’s first ball but, whilst waiting for the umpire’s decision, the batsman stood out of his ground and wicket keeper Hughes threw down the stumps to run him out.

Running into a strong wind at the other end, Lee Golding (2 for 22) put in a typically hard-working opening burst and was rewarded with two wickets, as Rugby seized control.

Ewer soon removed the visitor’s linchpin Vaughan, caught at gully for a duck, and Standard never threatened to chase Rugby’s score.

Opener Ryan Leybourne (21) did his best to keep the hosts at bay, but he was clean bowled by a lovely delivery from Henry Wilkins (2 for 29), as Rugby made light work of things.

Number nine Jamie O’Hara (24) swung the blade and added some late runs for his side, but Ewer bowled unchanged from the pavilion end and eventually claimed the final two wickets to bowl Standard out for 91 in the 29th over.

Ewer’s marathon spell returned brilliant figures of 14.4-3-34-6 and takes his tally to 15 league wickets already, after just three matches.

Edwards was much happier with his side’s display this week: “It was a good reaction from us, after last week’s defeat. We talked about where we needed to improve and I felt the team really put that into action.

“We know this is going to be a tough league, so I’m happy with two wins in our first three matches and hopefully we can take some momentum into next week’s match at Stratford.”

Warwickshire Division 4

Olton & WW 2nds vs Rugby 2nds

Rugby’s second string held on for a hard-fought losing draw on their travels to Olton & WW at the weekend.

Faced with a greenish track and long outfield, Captain Robards elected to bowl first upon winning the toss and his newly-settled opening attack of Muneer Khan and Jon Sage continued their form of previous weeks with some controlled bowling.

It soon became apparent runs would be hard to come by and Olton had progressed cautiously to 49 when the introduction of spinner Jason Smith (10-0-56-2) in the 17th over saw the fall of the first wicket, clean bowling Eesa Amin (21).

The spin twins of Smith and Mo Sadiq continued to apply pressure and aided by the slow outfield restricted the opposition to 72 for 1 at drinks.

Sadiq (12-2-27-1) got just reward bowling Gareth Stratford for a well-made 43 and when Smith picked up his second wicket Olton were 106 for 3.

At this point, Ed Sykes came out with intent and played aggressively from ball one, swinging the momentum back in the favour of the home team.

His quick-fire 30 was ended by Jack Coleman (4-0-14-1), before Khan claimed the fifth wicket.

Sage (12-0-46-3) who had been very unlucky in his first spell returned and now began to take deserved wickets, but Olton kept chipping away and finished on a very competitive total of 207 for 8.

Wanting a fast start, Rugby faced an immediate setback when Bhavik Rathod (6) fell early on with the score on 9.

The young, in-form Shreyas Honnalli joined his skipper Robards and the two set about trying to build a platform on what was proving an increasingly sticky pitch.

Having taken the score onto 61, and for the second week in row having made a start, Robards fell caught behind off Ateeb Shah for 23.

Match-winner from the previous weekend Alex Smith (2) fell to the same bowler and Rugby desperately needed a partnership.

Vishal Rathod (13) fought hard to add 25 runs with Honnalli, but when he holed out at mid-off and Sage followed shortly afterwards LBW for a duck, Rugby were on the ropes.

The key wicket of Honnalli (38) followed not long after and Rugby began to focus on the 156 runs they needed to secure a four-point losing draw.

Tom Mitchell finally got chance to show his skills with the bat and calmly guided RCC to that figure, well supported by the obdurate defence of Khan.

Yet this game had one last twist and when Mitchell (24) fell to a loose shot off leg-spinner Khan (11-33-3) in the penultimate over, Smith and Khan had eight nervous balls to survive.

They did so and Rugby closed on 157/9, securing 9 valuable points which may well come in handy later in the season.

Robards said: “We have yet to really fire, especially our batting line up, but the team have shown a great deal of determination and fight in trying conditions and can be proud of the start they have made to the season.”

Warwickshire Division 11 East

Massey Ferguson 3rds v Rugby 3rds

Rugby’s 3rd XI had to wait a couple of weeks to start their season this weekend, but they hit the ground running with a 124-run success.

Newly-appointed skipper Tom Smith won the toss, chose to bat first and was rewarded by a solid batting performances and contributions throughout the top order.

Veteran opener Chris Evans (40) top scored and shared a 62-run stand with number three Tom Binding (32), before Jag Barhey (30) continued the progress.

Smith (36) also added key runs, before Rubans (24) helped his side to 221/7 from their 45 overs.

Massey Ferguson’s reply never gained any momentum after Liam Slaughter picked up an early wicket, before his new-ball partner Rubans got to work.

Three wickets to Rubans and one to youngster Will Browne reduced the Coventry outfit to 41/5, before Vitan Patel (19) and Paul Proctor (21) added 31 for the sixth wicket, the biggest partnership of the innings.

Debutant Mohan Karri (2 for 10) broke the partnership though, before the evergreen Rubans (10-3-25-5) completed his five wicket haul.

Danishan Sivaraj then claimed the final wicket as Massey Ferguson were bowled out for 97 inside 25 overs.