Sensational performance to beat previous leaders
WARCL Premier Division
Rugby vs Bedworth
A sensational performance from Rugby on Saturday saw them rout previous league-leaders Bedworth in a low-scoring match at Webb Ellis Road.
With Hugh Cochrane starring with the bat and Henry Wilkins producing a devastating spell of bowling, Rugby bulldozed their way to a 52-run win, securing 24 points and moving to third in the table.
Proceedings did not start as well for Rugby though, who, having lost the toss and been asked to bat first on a tricky wicket, lost both openers within the first eight balls of the day.
Matt Ewer (32) continued his good form, striking the ball cleanly and forming a mini-revival with Terry Cooper (11), before the latter was unfortunately adjudged lbw despite a big inside edge.
When Ewer followed soon after, Rugby were back in trouble at 65/4 and wickets continued to fall at regular intervals.
However, one batsman stood firm for Rugby and that was Cochrane, coming in at number five and timing the ball with surprising ease, despite the difficult batting conditions.
Having shown early-season form in the 2nd team, he was promoted for his first 1st XI match of the summer and Cochrane’s knock held Rugby’s innings together with maturity and class.
He was well assisted by Wilkins (19) and then, in a crucial 41-run partnership for the eighth wicket, by Steve Ward (10), as Rugby worked their way up to 156 all out in the final over.
Cochrane (59) top scored, while Bedworth’s new-ball attack of Sam Smart (3/32) and Faisal Riaz (4/45) were the main wicket takers.
Rugby’s score would have looked very modest in normal conditions but, on a day where the odds were stacked in the bowlers’ favour, the home side took to the field full of self-belief.
This soon turned into confidence when Ewer removed the dangerous Luke Reeves in the first over of Bedworth’s reply, but the visitors’ captain Jason Jakeman took the attack back to Rugby.
Rugby struggled to make further inroads with the new ball and Bedworth looked to be well on top when Ward was introduced to the attack and immediately turned the game for Rugby.
Suddenly 46/1 because 51/3, as he removed both set batsmen, trapping Jakeman (28) lbw, before a great catch by Wilkins accounted for Smart (15).
Having won their first two games at a canter, Bedworth were clearly rocked by the double breakthrough and, sensing an opening, Rugby piled on the pressure.
Captain Owen Edwards returned to the attack and took a wicket in his first over, before Wilkins was introduced from the pavilion end and claimed a wicket with his first ball.
Rugby’s bowlers gave the batsmen nothing and, when a bad ball was served up, the fielders were electric and the runs dried up.
When Wilkins removed the last of Bedworth’s top order batsmen David Jakeman (24), Rugby exposed the tail and were ruthless.
Wilkins took the final three wickets, including sharp catches by Jack Coleman and Edwards, to return a brilliant five-wicket haul and bowl Bedworth out for 104 in the 41st over.
Wilkins (8-2-11-5) led the way for Rugby, well supported by Ward (5-0-10-2), Edwards (12-3-25-2) and Ewer (12-4-31-1).
It was a great win that leaves Rugby 10 points behind table-toppers Handsworth ahead of next week’s visit to struggling Solihull Municipal, in a league that is already shaping up to very open.
WARCL Division 4
Bedworth 2nds vs Rugby 2nds
Rugby’s second string suffered defeat in a closely contested match at Bedworth, being punished for a monumental batting collapse.
For the third week running, Rugby played good cricket for the majority of the match, but a short spell of madness cost them dearly, as they lost seven wickets for 12 runs, including four wickets without a run being scored.
Having been asked to bat first, Rugby started well and reached 76/1 when Jonathan Sage (27) was trapped lbw by Neil Jones.
With veteran opener Chris Evans (83) underlining his quality once again, Rugby continued to look good and progressed comfortably to 140/3 and looked well set for a score in excess of 200.
However Andrew Wilks (5/29) ripped through the lower order and suddenly Rugby had been bundled out for just 152.
Alan Iles (76) and Salim Bhayat (23) started Bedworth’s reply confidently but, once Krish Dhokia got the first breakthrough, Rugby got a foothold on the game.
Dhokia (12-3-31-2) was exceptional again, as was Hem Mistry (12-1-29-3), and the pair put the game on a knife-edge.
Neal McGrath and Iffy Mehmood also picked up a wicket apiece, but Rugby were left to rue their batting collapse when Bedworth got over the line with three wickets and nine balls to spare.
WARCL Division 11 East
Bedworth 4ths vs Rugby 3rds
A brilliant century from Shozab Mohammed set up another easy win for Rugby’s third team, making it two wins from as many matches.
Batting first, Rugby lost three quick wickets but Ash Koria (33) and Mohammed repaired the damage, before Tony Pasternak (18) helped to up the tempo.
Rugby finished on 185/7 from their 45 overs with Mohammed unbeaten on 108, including 12 fours and 3 sixes, with his second century for the club.
Bedworth’s reply never really threatened Rugby’s total, despite benefiting from 43 runs in extras, with Sachin Sard’s off spin leading the way.
Sard (10-1-19-4) was the pick of the bowlers, well supported by Ryan Littlejohn (2/27), Mohammed (2/26) and Tom Mitchell (1/25).
Bedworth were all out for 121, as Rugby won by 63 runs, which sets up an exciting clash with Newdigate next week who are the only other team to win both of their opening matches.