Summer's first consecutive wins lift 1st XI up to seventh
PICTURES BY MIKE BAKER
Warwickshire Cricket League Premier Division
Rugby v Bedworth
A superb bowling performance from Rugby’s seamers helped them to a 37-run win in a low-scoring encounter against previous table toppers Bedworth.
With the sun finally shining, conditions looked better for batting and Owen Edwards elected to bat first upon winning the toss on Saturday.
However, with the wicket still suffering the consequences of a wet summer so far, the bowlers were soon on top and extracting plenty of sideways movement to test the batsmen.
Henry Wilkins (12) looked in good touch until he was caught at point, as Rugby struggled to put together a meaningful partnership and Mohammed Tahir ripped through the top order.
Having been reduced to 43-5, Rugby were reliant on a resilient knock from Michael Hughes to anchor the rest of the innings and fight their way towards a total the bowlers could defend.
He added 25 for the sixth wicket with Hugh Cochrane (13), but nobody else reached double figures, as Bedworth squeezed the batsmen and restricted the scoring rate to under three-an-over.
Having played a crucial role, Hughes (39) was the eighth man out to the returning Tahir (10-0-41-5), whose whole-hearted spell was rewarded with a five-wicket haul.
The importance of Hughes’ contribution would become more telling as the match unfolded, but a limp finish to the innings saw 108/7 quickly become 110 all out, which looked about 40 runs below par.
Whilst Rugby’s batsmen have been low on form and confidence this season, their bowlers have been at their best and the Webb Ellis Roaders knew they were still in the game if they could make early inroads.
This is exactly what they got when Vishaal Rathod found the edge of Ryan Parnell’s bat with the second ball of Bedworth’s reply and Wilkins gobbled it up at slip.
Rathod then claimed the prized wicket of in-form Scott Friswell (8), knocking back his off stump and injecting real belief into the home side.
It was then Lee Golding’s turn to take centre stage, returning to new ball duties after a week off and producing a match-defining over that put his side in the driving seat.
Golding trapped Griegan French (4) lbw with a yorker, before bursting through Kyle Taylor and Ross Parnell’s defences to remove them both without scoring, as three wickets fell in an over.
Inderpal Singh Nandra was then joined by his captain Abdul Hafeez at the crease and the experienced duo were watchful against Rugby’s new ball duo, attempting to take the sting out of the situation.
However, Rugby’s bowlers stayed patient and eventually the pressure told on Nandra (5) who hit Rathod to Jeevan Barhey at mid on, leaving his side in disarray on 22-6.
Faizan Abdullah strode to the middle and immediately showed his intent to put the pressure back on Rugby with some powerful hitting and his counter attack changed the momentum of the match.
Whilst Hafeez absorbed the pressure from one end, Abdullah got the scoreboard moving at the other and Bedworth clawed their way back into contention during a 34-run stand.
Golding (8-1-26-3) was replaced by Wilkins at the pavilion end and, as he so often does, the former-Southam man struck immediately, bowling Hafeez (5) with the score on 56.
Rathod (10-4-32-3) bowled his allocation in an unchanged spell, showing all of the control and skill that make him such a potent weapon for Rugby, before Edwards himself came on.
Rugby’s captain became the third bowler to take a wicket in his first over, crucially seeing the back of Abdullah for a run-a-ball 31, as he miscued to mid-on in the hunt of another boundary.
Edwards (1.4-0-2-3) wasted no time in polishing off the tail, as Bedworth slumped to 73 all out and Rugby recorded consecutive wins for the first time this summer and moved up to seventh in the table.
Warwickshire Division 4
Dorridge 2nds v Rugby 2nds
Rugby’s second string were overpowered by a strong Dorridge side on Saturday, unable to defend a below-par score and losing by eight wickets.
Stand-in skipper Alex Smith lost the toss and found his side batting first on a good wicket, but wickets fell regularly and nobody took advantage of the favourable conditions.
The contrasting styles of openers Chris Evans and Suj Barhey were an interesting sight, but Barhey’s 14-run cameo didn’t last long enough to make a real impact.
Veteran Evans (34) top scored, well supported by Shreyas Honnalli (16), but once the second wicket fell, Rugby’s middle order collapsed.
Abhay Lal (31) and Mo Sadiq (14) produced the only other double figure scores, as Rugby stumbled to 145 all out in the 40th over, with Steve Hooper and John Palmer taking three wickets apiece.
Dorridge’s reply never really looked in doubt against a depleted Rugby seam attack that lacked a cutting edge.
The one real positive for the visitors was another exciting spell from young, under 14 spinner Danny Sadiq (10-2-40-2), a product of RCC’s youth set-up, who took both wickets to fall.
However, Grant Harrison (80 not out) and Sam Smith (40 not out) eased their side to the winning line in the 37th over.
Warwickshire Division 11 East
Rugby 3rds v Standard 3rds
Rugby’s 3rd XI moved up to second place in the table thanks to a comprehensive 153-run with their young players taking a starring role.
Rugby chose to bat first and, after losing Dave Marshall (4) in the first over, they made confident progress through Emily Naylor and Oliver Tapscott.
There were useful contributions throughout the top order, with Tapscott (21), Tom Mitchell (12) and Tom Smith (16) all chipping in, but it was Naylor (67) who provided the backbone of Rugby’s innings.
With Rugby needing to up the run rate in the later overs, u15 wicket keeper Charlie Crinigan (37) provided some lusty hitting, well supported by Tom Rigby (26), before they were bowled out for 217 from the final ball of their 45-over allocation.
It was then Anszar Ahmed’s time to shine, as the young seamer showcased what an exciting prospect he is, bowling with pace and control.
Ahmed, Mitchell, Marshall, Rigby and Naylor shared the first five wickets, before Ahmed returned in a devastating second spell.
He returned fine figures of 8-6-6-5 to power his side to 24 points, whilst Will Browne also claimed a wicket and Standard were bowled out for 64 in the 36th over.