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25th Jun, 2022

CRICKET - Rugby CC complete hat-trick of pre-season wins

RUGBY CC began their 2022 season with three wins from as many matches as the club embark on a historic campaign with four Saturday teams.

The squad has seen a big investment in player development and continues to grow with several young players set to play a big role in Rugby’s season.

And for the first time in their history, Rugby have entered four Saturday teams into the Warwickshire League and recently installed a brand new four-bay net facility at the club.

Rugby enjoyed an impressive first outing against Bedworth with Wes Landsdale’s strong all-round performance setting up a 19-run win, along with positive debuts from Alex Watson and Seth Westley.

Batting first, Rugby recovered well from the loss of an early wicket through Watson (45) and Jeevan Barhey (25) who added 58 for the second wicket.

After they were both dismissed by Jugdip Nandra, Owen Edwards (23) joined Landsdale in a 51-run partnership.

Two quick wickets to Inderpal Nandra reduced Rugby to 157 for 5, but Danny Sadiq (20) shared Rugby’s third half-century stand of the innings, whilst Landsdale reached his 50.

Landsdale hit the accelerator after reaching this landmark and raced to 80 before being dismissed by Inderpal (4-33), as Rugby closed their 45 overs on 235-9.

Westley took the new ball in his first Rugby appearance and soon had two wickets to his name, as Bedworth struggled to 19-2.

A number of dropped catches prevented Rugby taking full control of the match, before Ryan Parnell and Kyle Taylor began to counter attack for the home side.

Their partnership was worth 60 when Parnell (37) was caught in the deep and became the first of Sadiq’s three wickets, the young spinner claiming 3-47.

Taylor (41) top scored for Bedworth, but he was bowled by Landsdale, with Rugby’s South African bowling a miserly spell of 9-2-20-1 that put his side in the driving seat.

Neal McGrath also picked up two wickets, although Edward Hulbert (40 not out) and Josh Thomas (32) took the game deep with a 76-run stand, before their innings closed on 216-8.

Rugby’s second string also dusted off the winter cobwebs in style, beating Oakfield by 54 runs, ahead of a season where they immediately look to bounce back from relegation to Division Five.

Batting first, Charlie Robards and new skipper Hugh Cochrane both reached half centuries before retiring, with the latter racing to 53 from just 34 balls and looking in great form.

James Nuttall hit a typically breezy 21, before George Mackenzie returned to Webb Ellis Road for his first appearance since 2016 and hit a class 33 not out.

Rugby posted 205-5 from their 40 overs and started their defence well when Brett Markham removed the dangerous Dickie Burnett (8) in the second over of Oakfield’s reply.

Nuttall claimed the second wicket, before former captain Jon Sage (2-17) accounted for Stuart Atkins (8) and Craig Gowdy (3) in quick succession.

A Joe Bramley run out left Oakfield five down, but Stewart Burnett rebuilt the visitors’ innings in partnership with George Smith.

Burnett (58) retired to give his teammates some batting practice, before Markham grabbed his second wicket late in the day.

Smith finished unbeaten on 46 as Oakfield’s innings closed on 151-6.

Rugby’s 3rd team completed a hat-trick of opening weekend victories with a last over run chase against Coventry Blues, winning with five wickets and two balls to spare.

The Coventry outfit batted first and scored 195-9 from their 40 overs with Amalraj Elippatta (65) top scoring, well supported by Rahul Raj (46).

Adam Milsom (8-3-18-2) was the pick of Rugby’s attack, whilst Rubans, Keval Rathod and Murali Natajaran all picked up two wickets each and there was one for Dave Marshall too.

Rugby’s reply started well through Keval Rathod (35) and Augustus Wenham (17) in 43-run opening stand, before Shreyas Honnalli (20) and Jack Coleman (21) continued the progress.

The required rate had crept up and Rugby needed 47 from the last six overs, but Zach Wenham (44 not out) and Tom Smith (43) picked up the tempo at the right time, before Tom Rigby struck the winning boundary.

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