RUGBY Cricket Club continued their fine form with a winning draw against title-hopefuls Attock to rise up the Warwickshire County League table.
The visitors won the toss and chose to bowl first in overcast conditions, but Rugby’s batsmen were soon into their stride and scoring freely.
Matt Ewer (23) and Wes Landsdale (24) added 46 for the first wicket, before both men were trapped lbw in quick succession.
Owen Edwards (40) and Levi Gekis (32) then compiled the biggest partnership of the innings worth 82, but they were both out with the score on 142.
The trend continued throughout Rugby’s innings, with their first nine batters all reaching double figures, although none were able to kick on and post a big score.
Kyle Taylor upped the tempo with an aggressive 28, whilst Divan Posthumus top scored with 59 from 55 balls and ensured Rugby reached a commanding total.
Kasir Shah (18) and debutant Darshin Solanki (13 not out) chipped in with useful cameos late on, as Rugby closed their 50 overs on 277-8.
Adam Mahmood (2-47) and Imaad Mahmood (2-38) were the pick of Attock’s attack.
Attock’s reply started badly when Neal McGrath removed the prolific Omar Ali for a duck in their second over.
Mohammed Ishtiaq (23) looked in good touch but, after surviving a no ball dismissal just two balls earlier, succumbed to the bowling of Posthumus with the score on 40.
Another quick wicket for the South African put Rugby well on top, but a dropped chance to remove Imaad Mahmood on zero would prove costly.
Imaad counter attacked to great effect for Attock, punishing anything loose from Rugby’s bowlers and turning the game in the Birmingham side’s favour.
He added 104 in just 16 overs with captain Arsalaan Mahmood, before he was well caught by McGrath off Gekis’ bowling for a 57-ball 72.
Hasan Mahmood continued to attack for Attock though and helped his side reach 182-4 in the 33rd over before Rugby struck a crucial double blow.
Firstly Posthumus (3-54) removed Hasan (22), before Gekis accounted for Arsalaan (54) to put Rugby back on top.
Youngster Gekis bowled superb spell of controlled leg spin and picked up two more quick wickets to finish on 4-59 and reduce Attock to 195-8.
However, Attock were not done yet and another dropped catch gave them a lifeline that Asim Khan and Kashif Ali grabbed with both hands.
Some clean hitting propelled them to 266-8 at the start of the final over and all results were still possible.
Rugby were indebted to a moment of fielding brilliance from Posthumus to seal the winning draw, as he dived for a catch on the boundary line and flicked the ball back inside the rope to George Mackenzie to complete the catch.
That accounted for Ali (43) as Attock blocked out the final few balls from the impressive McGrath (2-38) to finish on 269-9.
Rugby’s 2nd string returned to form, as their bowlers set up a six-wicket victory against struggling Sheldon Marlborough.
The home side chose to bat first, but were soon in trouble against Vishaal Rathod and Aravind Katragadda who removed both openers cheaply.
James Nuttall took the third wicket to leave Sheldon on 44-3, before Amir Sheikh and Wasim Rehman (16) rallied briefly with a 41-run stand.
Once Kurran Barhey ended their partnership, Rugby were able to take regular wickets and Suj Barhey (2-18) accounted for top scorer Sheikh (56).
Young leg spinner Amaan Shah (3-7) ran through the lower order, before Rathod (2-31) returned to take the final wicket and bowl Sheldon out for 132 in the 39th over.
Rugby’s reply started slowly against some challenging new-ball bowling and, after losing both openers, they were under pressure on 29-2.
However, James Nuttall (21) joined Jeevan Barhey in a confident partnership of 46 to settle the nerves.
Barhey (40) top scored and although he fell with the score on 91 as stand-in skipper Rob Stipanovic (31 not out) saw his side home in the 30th over.
A dominant performance from Rugby’s third XI propelled them to an eight-wicket victory against Stockingford and up to third place in the table, keeping their back-to-back promotion hopes alive.
Stockingford chose to bat first, but were immediately in trouble against Theo Nelson (2-17) and slumped to 34-3.
Muhammad Abdul Khan (30) led a brief fightback, but his dismissal by Jonathan Sage (2-11) sparked a collapse of seven wickets for the addition of just 26 runs.
Rubans (3-12) and Murali Natarajan (2-3) were the main destroyers as they helped skittle Stockingford for 96.
Rugby’s reply was never in doubt after Shreyas Honnalli and Keval Rathod (16) added 39 for the first wicket.
Although two wickets fell, Honnalli (28 not out) steered his side home in the 22nd over.