Premier Division action from Webb Ellis Road on Saturday
PICTURES BY MIKE BAKER
Warwickshire Cricket League Premier Division
Rugby v Bablake
Rugby’s winning start to the season continued on Saturday, when another high-scoring batting display set up a 78-run win against Bablake.
After losing the toss, captain Owen Edwards was happy to still find his side batting first and they got another flying start. Asaad Qureshi and Henry Wilkins rode their luck in the first ten overs, then plundered 37 runs from the first two overs from the change bowlers.
By the time Henry Wilkins (66 from 44 balls) was caught in the deep, Rugby had reached 120 in the 17th over.
However, when Raj Chohan (1) and Qureshi (48) followed in quick succession, Rugby were pegged back to 144-3.
Edwards was joined by Matt Ewer (17) and the pair steadied the ship for a while, but wickets began to fall regularly and it looked like the Webb Ellis Roaders might squander their great start.
With the score on 233-8, the in-form Edwards decided it was time to target the boundary before he ran out of partners. Rugby’s skipper jumped into fifth gear, adding 56 runs with Tom Binding (5no) for the 9th wicket, and reached a century after the frustration of being dismissed on 95 last week.
Edwards was finally stumped in the last over, but he had made 102 from 70 balls and Rugby closed on 293-9, despite a fine spell from Azhar Ali (10-3-26-3).
On a decent batting pitch, this total only looked a little over par, especially with Rugby fielding a depleted bowling attack. Henry Wilkins picked up two early wickets, including a superb ball that swung back though Luke De Souza’s defence to hit leg stump.
Rugby’s bowlers struggled to maintain any control and it took a moment of fielding brilliance to stem the flow of runs.
Lee Golding swooped at cover and threw down the stumps for a direct hit run out to remove Mark Eames (39) and then took a brilliant running catch off Chohan’s bowling to remove Ali (55).
Off-spinner Chohan (10-0-24-2) produced a brilliant spell, while Golding (10-1-48-2) bowled a much-improved second burst.
As a result Bablake’s run chase fell away, with Wilkins (10-1-61-3) getting another wicket and they closed on 215-8 from their 50 overs.
Warwickshire Division 3
Marston Green 1sts v Rugby 2nds
Rugby’s second team suffered a heart-breaking three-run defeat after a terrible middle order collapse cost them a game they should have won.
After being asked to bat first, Marston Green made a positive start and had reached 37 before Neal McGrath made the first breakthrough in the 7th over. From this point, Rugby were able to take wickets regularly, despite the efforts of Rajesh Dohal (40) and Adam McWalter (36).
McGrath (3-24), David Marshall (3-35) and Naresh Kaushal (3-41) all bowled well and helped to dismiss the home side out for 165.
Rugby lost Chris Evans (8) early in their reply, but Mo Sadiq (48) and Barry Taylor (35) put their side well on track for victory. However, from 98- 2, Rugby lost six wickets for 12 runs at the hands of Dohal (4-30) and then, soon after, slumped to 130- 9.
The game looked to be done and dusted, but number 10 Marshall (30no) struck a series of boundaries to put the game back on a knife edge.
However, just as Rugby looked set to sneak over the line, the final wicket fell with the scoreboard still reading 162.
Warwickshire Division 9E
Rugby 3rds v Copeswood WIW 2nds
Rugby’s 3rd string lost their first match in Division 9, after choosing to bat first and struggling to put a defendable total on the board.
After their top three batsmen contributed just one run between them, Rugby rallied through the experienced pairing of Ash Koria (48) and Richard Morgan (54).
However, once they were dismissed, only Adam Milsom (15) and Liam Slaughter (14) reached double figures as their team were bowled out for 148.
Rugby’s young bowling attack ensured Copeswood’s had to work hard in their run chase, but ultimately they just didn’t have enough runs to defend and the visitors reached a 5-wicket win in the 38th over.
Euan Walker (2 for 21) was the pick of Rugby’s attack, while Mitchell, Milsom and Slaughter picked up a wicket apiece.