RUGBY CC played out a dramatic tie with Olton and West Warwicks CC in an entertaining Warwickshire County League Premier Division clash.
Rugby were far from their best, but showed good character to fight back from perilous positions in both innings’ to come away with 17 points.
Wes Landsdale won the toss and elected to bat first as openers Hugh Cochrane and Henry Parker made a positive start, adding 41 before Cochrane (33) was out in the ninth over.
However, this was the first of three very soft dismissals in quick succession, as Parker (14) ran himself out before Landsdale (1) hit a long hop straight to point.
Kevin McClean then produced a fine delivery to remove Owen Edwards (1) to leave Rugby in big trouble on 55-4.
Youngster Joe Bramley (23) showed good character and played some classy strokes, to rebuild the innings with Kyle Taylor, before he was bowled with the score on 95.
Kasir Shah then joined Taylor and two of Rugby’s new signings combined in an excellent partnership, watchful at first, before starting to target the boundaries.
Taylor (53) anchored most of Rugby’s innings in a crucial knock, whilst Shah was more swashbuckling in his approach and struck three sixes in a run-a-ball 52.
The pair added 107 runs for the sixth wicket and, despite three wickets falling for as many runs once their partnership was broken, Danny Sadiq (16 not out) and Levi Gekis (14 not out) pushed Rugby upto a competitive 239-8.
The score looked below par in good batting conditions and this perception was only confirmed when Olton’s openers started confidently and scored freely in reply.
Spiros Bogdos and Adam Hussain had eased to 65 in the 14th over when Bogdos (22) was caught at deep square leg off Sadiq’s bowling.
Edwards produced a tight spell to slow the scoring rate, but Olton’s batters followed Rugby’s top order in giving their wickets away.
Firstly, Adam Hussain (42) ran himself out, before Aman Hussain hit a Gekis delivery to long off and was well caught by Parker.
Despite these wickets, Olton were still in the driving seat with West Indian McClean looking in ominous form after his double century the week before.
However, young spinner Gekis (3-35) showcased his talent in a crucial spell, which included the big wicket of McClean (26), before his third wicket made it 148-5.
When Sadiq returned and trapped Marc Webb (18) lbw, Rugby had dragged themselves back into the game.
After a couple of quiet overs, Olton suddenly needed 77 from 11 overs, but momentum swung back in the hosts favour when Phil Trilloe and Zane Richter began to find the boundary.
Their intelligent partnership put Rugby on the back foot and they only needed 16 from 20 balls when Edwards finally removed Richter (31) with a slower ball.
Seth Westley had bowled well day for Rugby without any luck, but he was finally rewarded when he bowled Trilloe (36) in the following over to leave the game in the balance.
A tight penultimate over from Edwards cost three runs, leaving Olton needing nine to win from the last over.
And Lee Golding held his nerve in a dramatic over, which ended with two run outs to leave Olton on 239 all out and the sides tied.
Rugby’s 2nd XI kept their promotion bid on track with a seven-wicket success against Moseley Ashfield 2nds to set up a huge match with leaders Sutton Coldfield 2nds, who are six points clear of Rugby, next week.
And Rugby won the toss and opted to bowl first, a decision that was soon endorsed by a ruthless display that made light work of Moseley’s batting line up.
James Nuttall got a wicket in the first over the match, before his new ball bowler partner Suj Barhey picked up the next two.
It was then over to the spinners, with youngster Aman Shah getting two key wickets, before Ash Cutts (4-20) bowled a superb spell, which also included a sensational return catch.
Aravind Katragadda also grabbed a wicket, as Moseley collapsed to 81 all out in the 30th over.
Rugby’s were reduced to 24-3 in reply before the experienced duo of Charlie Robards and Michael Hughes eased any nerves.
They got through a challenging spell from Phil Jeffries (2-19), before easing to the target inside 18 overs, with Robards (33 not out) and Hughes (31 not out).
Rugby’s 3rd XI secured second place in the Division Eight South Central table thanks to a comfortable eight-wicket victory against Peugeot CNW 2nds to confirm promotion with one match left to play.
Liam Slaughter won the toss and chose to bowl first as his bowlers blitzed through Peugeot’s batters to bowl them out for just 69 in 35 overs.
Murali Natarajan (4-12) returned the best figures, well supported by Tom Rigby (3-14) and Slaughter (3-16).
Rugby openers Alex Smith (34 not out) and Shreyas Honnalli (20) made for a comfortable run chase and, despite two late wickets, victory was secured in the 17th over.
Lastly, Rugby’s 4th XI struggled on their way to a five-wicket defeat against Coventry WIW 4ths in Division Nine South Central.
Only Ram Kumar Singh (44) made an real impact with the bat, as Rugby collapsed to 113 all out.
An early run out in CWIW’s reply gave Rugby hope, but the wickets did not come quickly enough, despite Kiran Clark taking 2 for 20.
The home side reached their target in the 20th over, although there was a wicket each for Singh and Jonny Dwyer.