Rugby celebrate 175 years in style with victory over the Marylebone Cricket Club
PICTURES BY MIKE BAKER
Rugby Cricket Cub v The Marylebone Cricket Club
Friendly – RCC win by 2 wickets
In a momentous year for the club and as part of their 175th Anniversary celebrations, Rugby CC hosted the MCC at Webb Ellis Road in what proved a fitting day to celebrate the club’s historic landmark.
The MCC batted first and were quickly tied down by the accurate bowling of Rugby’s new ball opening partnership. Neal McGrath was unlucky not to get a wicket off his second ball when a catch went down at second slip and Henry Wilkins was creating doubt the other end with controlled away swing. The MCC were soon further on the back foot when Liam Slaughter pulled off a stunning piece of fielding to run out Smith for 0. With pressure building Wilkins got his just rewards and had Setia caught at square leg for 15. The introduction of Mo Sadiq saw another cheap wicket but this bought the flamboyant Russell to the crease and it was clear the new batsman was intent on attacking from the offset as he began to unleash a series of stunning shots. With Walker also batting sensibly at the other the MCC began to rebuild well.
However, RCC can always depend on the Rathod brothers and Vishaal on this occasion produced an unplayable delivery clipping the top of off stump to remove the dangerous Russell for an exciting 44. The teams left the field for lunch with honours even. What followed can only be described as a cricketers dream with both sides tucking into a simply sumptuous spread. Matt Ewer, captaining the MCC side, had clearly enjoyed lunch and taking advantage of some sleepy RCC players took to unleashing a series of lusty fours after the break. However, bragging rights go to Tom Smith who removed Ewer with his unusual off-spin bowling trapping Matt LBW for a breezy 35. Hourigan continued the positive intent but when he and Walker fell to McGrath returning to pick up a couple of deserved wickets the MCC innings began to taper away and the declaration was made leaving Rugby quietly confident of chasing the 211 for victory.
Rugby’s response started positively with Henry Parker in particular taking advantage of some lose bowling striking 5 fours in his 23 before falling to Barker who had also snared Rugby’s other opener Hugh Cochrane for 11. Owen Edwards joined Evans at the crease and struck the ball with great power and ease. Despite losing Evans and young Slaughter cheaply at the other end Edwards then combined with Wilkins to dominate the opposition attack smashing anything loose. Edwards eventually fell to a brilliant slip catch off the bowling of Ewer for an excellent 65. Wilkins took over the mantle of aggressor and despite Rugby losing regular wickets at the other saw Rugby over the line with a belligerent 84 not out.
A brilliant day for the club enjoyed by all. A huge thank you must go to Mrs Wilkins and the catering team for providing such a wonderful experience for all the players.