WES Landsdale’s impressive century inspired Rugby Cricket Club’s first team to a thumping 105-run victory at Solihull Blossomfield which extends the club’s unbeaten run to 10 weeks.
Landsdale’s heroics with both bat and ball powered his side to a comfortable win which moves Rugby up to fourth in the Warwickshire County League Premier Division table.
Rugby lost the toss and were asked to bat first on a wicket with significant damp patches where the covers had been unable to keep the previous day’s rain at bay.
However, despite the challenging conditions, openers Matt Ewer and Landsdale made a confident start for Rugby punishing any loose deliveries.
As the overs went by, Solihull’s bowlers began to utilise the conditions more effectively and run scoring became harder, but the openers reached the halfway point without losing a wicket.
Edward Thompson finally made the breakthrough with a slower ball through Ewer’s defence, as Rugby’s captain was out for 32 with his team on 92-1 after 26 overs.
Young debutant Jordan Strydom (14) looked comfortable, but Rugby were struggling to lift the tempo following his departure by Chris Kenny with the visitors on 128.
Landsdale was now well past his 50 and, after a few quiet overs alongside new partner Owen Edwards, the pair struck three maximums in the 44th over to kick start the innings.
They added 70 in just 11.3 overs as the South African reached his third WCL century of the season, before being dismissed for 108 from 150 balls, another classy innings in tricky conditions.
Edwards (37 from 41 balls) was also out late in the innings to the impressive Matt Bentley (3-39) as a flurry of wickets fell in the final two overs with Rugby closing on 223-6.
Solihull made a flying start in reply before Strydom accounted for Thompson (22) and Landsdale made a brilliant catch to dismiss Jake Sammons (27) off Kasir Shah’s bowling.
This turned the game in Rugby’s favour as spinners Danny Sadiq (2-14) and Landsdale (4-21) produced mesmerising spells to put the visitors in command.
And Neal McGrath (2-30) knocked over the tail as Solihull lost their last seven wickets for just 15 runs, collapsing to 118 all out.
Rugby’s second XI suffered a two-wicket defeat against Knowle Village to end any realistic hopes of promotion.
The team now face a nervy last couple of games of the season in a division where four teams could suffer relegation.
Bhavik Rathod won the toss and chose to bat first and watched openers Hugh Cochrane (13) and Alex Watson (18) start steadily.
Jeevan Barhey (16) also chipped in and Rugby were well-placed at 72-2, but they paid the price for not converting these starts when Knowle Village started to take wickets in a hurry.
Only George Mackenzie (38) really looked good for Rugby, as nobody below number four reached double figures and the innings collapsed to 133 all out as Bradley Shough (4-26) did the damage for Knowle.
An early wicket apiece for Vishaal Rathod and Aravind Katragadda reduced Knowle to 24-2 early in their reply and gave Rugby cause for hope, but the visitors always kept their nose just ahead during the run chase.
Ash Cutts (3-25) bowled superbly for Rugby, working effectively in tandem with young leg spinner Amaan Shah (2-50), but David Tamplin’s 48 was the match’s top scorer and provided the impetus for a Knowle win.
Rathod (2-22) grabbed a second wicket and Rugby fought to the end, but Knowle secured victory with two wickets to spare.
Rugby’s hunt for back-to-back promotions took a dent following defeat a three-wicket defeat against Fillongley.
After choosing to bat first, Rugby looked good on 74-1 with Shreyas Honnalli (31) and Rob Stipanovic (32) at the crease, but failed to build meaningful partnerships after their dismissals.
Alex Smith (66) returned to form with a half century held the innings together, but lacked support until a cameo from Rubans (21) late in the day.
Neil Stringer (3-50), Andy Moore (2-37) and Farhad Ali (2-50) were the main wicket takers for Fillongley as Rugby were all out for 196 from the final ball of their 50 overs.
Fillongley’s run chase never really looked in doubt after a good knock from opener Chris Moore (38), despite Rugby chipping away with wickets throughout the innings.
Moore’s dismissal to Keval Rathod (2-17) left Fillongley on 100-4 before a 71-run partnership between Spencer Kennedy (32) and John Dillam (37) put the game to bed.
Kurran Barhey (3-31) was the pick of Rugby’s attack, while Rubans and Ben Haworth grabbed a wicket apiece as Fillongley eased home with six overs and three wickets to spare.
Lastly, Rugby’s fourth XI moved back up to second place in the league, and put their promotion hopes back in their own hands with one game remaining, with a crushing nine-wicket win against Lapworth.
Lapworth won the toss and chose to bat first, but were immediately in trouble as the new ball attack of Adam Milsom (2-16) and Anil Oruganti (2-18) shared the first four wickets.
The visitors had no answers to Rugby’s bowlers and slumped to 52 all out, with Reece Jones (3-4) returning exceptional figures, before Jag Barhey and Shreyas Sakkurti mopped up the tail with a wicket apiece.
William Gower (16) was the only casualty in Rugby’s reply, as Ram Kumar Singh (24 not out) helped Rugby rac to the required target in just 7.1 overs.