CRICKET - Rugby battle to losing draw against title-chasing Aston Manor - The Rugby Observer

CRICKET - Rugby battle to losing draw against title-chasing Aston Manor

Rugby Editorial 13th Jul, 2022   0

RUGBY CC put in a workmanlike performance to come away with a losing draw at title-challenging Aston Manor in their Warwickshire County League Premier Division clash.

On a scorching day, it was no surprise that the hosts elected to bat first when they won the toss.

However, Rugby started well thanks to some inspired fielding and probing new-ball bowling, which saw three wickets fall early on.

Henry Parker scooped up a low catch at gully from a full-blooded cut shot off Seth Westley’s bowling, before Owen Edwards plucked a one-handed grab at slip from Lee Golding.

At 11-2, Rugby were well on top and despite a brief flurry of boundaries from Bhargav Patel, he also edged Golding to slip and was out for 17.

However, Rugby put down a simple chance at mid-wicket when Naveed Zamurad should have been Golding’s third wicket.

And Rugby were made to pay as Zamurad and Munir Ur Rehman Tanzil rebuilt the innings in impressive fashion, offering no further chances to Rugby, despite disciplined bowling and good fielding.

Rugby’s task was made more difficult when George Mackenzie fractured his wrist in the field, although he remarkably carried on fielding with one hand, rather than leave the side a man short.

Manor’s fourth wicket pair added 154 when Kasir Shah finally removed Tanzil (65), but Zamurad went on to reach an excellent century.

He also fell to Shah (3-75) for 109, as wickets began to fall when Manor looked to up the tempo in the last 10 overs.

Golding (3-70) and Westley (2-49) claimed a wicket each in their second spells, before the innings closed on 267-8.

Although this score was only around par, Rugby’s reply started badly, as is often the way after fielding for 50 overs in the heat, with two quick wickets falling to Hamza Nadeem, reducing them to 5-2.

Hugh Cochrane (27) and Wes Landsdale (37) steadied the ship for Rugby, but both men fell just when the innings was starting to build momentum.

When Landsdale was dismissed in the 27th over, Rugby were on 86-4, effectively five down with Mackenzie unable to bat, and their thoughts had to focus on the losing draw.

Edwards and Michael Hughes (13) moved the score onto 125, but a needless Hughes run out kept the door open for the home side.

However, another good partnership between Edwards (56) and Shah (28) made the game safe for Rugby.

Although they were both out to big shots late on, as Rugby hunted some additional bonus points, Golding (19 not out) avoided a nervous finish and his side closed on 192-8.

In Division Five, Rugby’s 2nd XI cruised to a five-wicket victory over Thimblemill to secure a maximum 24 points courtesy of another fine knock by James Nuttall.

Skipper Bhavik Rathod lost the toss and was asked to bowl on a hot day at Webb Ellis Road.

And Thimblemill lost an early wicket thanks to some catastrophic running but a century stand for the third wicket put them on top before Mo Aqil was dismissed by Murali Natarajan for 51.

Natarajan bowled with great control to return economical figures of 2-26 from his 12 overs as his spell helped turn the game in Rugby’s favour.

Thimblemill struggled to gain any serious momentum although Irfan Khaled hit a brisk 37, whilst opener Zaheer Afzal anchored his sides innings with 96.

Their opponents eventually reached 231 which looked a par score at best on a flat track in great batting conditions.

Rugby’s response started well with openers Lee James and Alex Watson finding the boundary with regularity before the former’s surprise departure for 31.

Watson continued to score freely and brought up his first Saturday half century for Rugby with a straight six, but he fell soon after, lbw for 56.

This brought Nuttall to the crease and, after a circumspect start, he worked his way through the gears in typically brutal fashion reaching his half century in only 38 balls.

He accelerated further to score an unbeaten 90 as Rugby cruised home to win by five wickets in the 42nd over.

There was more joy for Rugby after their 3rd XI recorded a thumping 158-run victory over Alvis to move to the top of the Division Eight South Central table.

Captain Liam Slaughter won the toss and chose to bat and, despite losing Aravind Ram (5) and Tom Binding (19) early on, went on to post a mammoth 256-3 in their allotted 45 overs.

This was courtesy of a 212-run stand for the third wicket between youngster Dan Pinks and Liam Hebblewhite.

Pinks scored his maiden century reaching an unbeaten 116 in a composed fashion, striking nineteen boundaries along the way.

Hebblewhite continued his recent good form scoring 82 before he was dismissed with the final ball of the innings.

In response, Alvis were never in the hunt, after both openers were dismissed cheaply by youngster Advay Pophali (2-31).

And when Slaughter (2-10) bowled the division’s most dangerous batter, George Ball, for a duck, Rugby were well on their way to victory.

Wickets continued to fall with leg spinner Kurran Barhey taking 3-10 from his 10 overs before Pinks took the final wicket to bowl out Alvis for 98 in the 44th over and give Rugby all 24 points and deny their opponents a losing draw.

However, Rugby’s 4th XI came unstuck against Alvis 2nds in Division Nine South Central after being bowled out for just 107.

There were good top-order knocks from Matthew Browne (25) and debutant Zafar Rehman who top scored on 39, but no other batter reached double figures as the innings collapsed at the hands of Tahir Khan (6-36).

In reply, Alvis never looked in too much trouble and reached their target in the 22nd over, despite a wicket apiece for Browne, Rehman, Barhey and youngster Reece Jones.

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