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28th May, 2022

CRICKET - Rugby suffer heavy defeat against Coventry and North Warwickshire

RUGBY CC suffered a heavy 106-run defeat against Coventry and North Warwickshire in the Warwickshire Cricket League Premier Division.

Coventry’s Shivam Bhambri stole the show with a stunning 162 from 113 balls that included 20 fours and seven sixes.

Rugby won the toss and chose to bowl first, hoping to make use of any early life in the wicket on a day that otherwise looked good for batting.

And the decision looked to have paid off when Seth Westley bowled Matthew Nobes (0) and Neal McGrath added two more wickets in the first 10 overs, reducing CNW to 42-3.

However, Bhambri swung the game in CNW’s favour with a magnificent knock, scoring freely around the ground, before he eventually fell to Lee Golding.

CNW finished on 313-6 from their 50 overs with Neal McGrath (3-56) and Seth Westley (2-60) taking Rugby’s wickets along with Golding’s scalp of Bhambri.

On a good batting surface, Rugby were determined to have a crack at an unlikely run chase and pinch hitter James Nuttall signalled his side’s intent by striking the second ball of the reply for six.

However, Harry Horsley removed openers Nuttall (7) and Michael Hughes (3) inside four overs to leave the Webb Ellis Roaders up against it.

Hugh Cochrane continued his side’s attacking approach with a quickfire 32, but his dismissal left Rugby on 50-3.

Wes Landsdale and Owen Edwards began the rebuild, but when Taran Toor removed Landsdale (24) in his first over, CNW were in a dominant position.

Edwards and Alex Watson saw Rugby through to drinks in a watchful manner, before upping the tempo upon resumption, when a five-over spell yielded 47 runs, with Watson particularly aggressive.

They added 78 runs before Edwards (35) and Watson (43) were dismissed in consecutive George Neal overs.

Abhay Lal (27) and McGrath (19 not out) added some lower order runs but Rugby’s run chase fizzled out and the final wicket fell with 207 on the board in the 43rd over.

Rugby’s 2nd XI continued their perfect start to the season with a nervy three-wicket win at Bulkington on a tricky pitch in Division Five.

Stand-in captain Bhavik Rathod won the toss and chose to bowl first, striking immediately for his side, before Brett Markham claimed the second wicket and reduced the hosts to 3-2.

Liam Carvell (27) fought back for Bulkington, but the introduction of young leg spinner Amaan Shah (3-20) sparked a flurry of wickets and the scoreboard soon read 53-6.

Batting at number eight Safiq Shaikh (44 not out) then produced the highest score of the match to carry his side towards a competitive total on a wicket that was producing alarmingly inconsistent bounce.

The final four wickets were shared by Brett Markham (3-27) and one apiece for Levi Gekis, Aravind Katragadda and Ben Haworth, with Bulkington all out for 141.

Charlie Robards (35) and Lee James (10) started Rugby’s reply with a 36-run opening partnership, but two wickets in quick succession gave the home side a chance.

Rathod (15) joined Robards and appeared to be easing their side towards victory at 60-2, but Liam Carvell (4-22) triggered a collapse that threw the game wide open at 79-5.

However, Rob Stipanovic (15) steadied the ship in a crucial 39-run partnership with Katragadda to help Rugby to victory in the 40th over.

Rugby’s 3rd XI clash saw opponents Hunningham 2nds concede the match in Division Nine South Central.

Lastly, Rugby’s 4th XI secured a four-wicket win against Coleshill thanks to an excellent innings from youngster Daniel Pinks.

Rugby won the toss and elected to field and restricted the visitors to 172-7 from their 40 overs, which included 51 not out from their captain Paul Jones.

Muhammad Obaid (3-30) and Advay Pophali (2-17) were the pick of Rugby’s attack, with Liam Hebblewhite and Jag Barhey taking a wicket each.

Rugby’s reply started disastrously as they slumped to 34-5 in the 12th over and were staring at defeat when Hebblewhite joined Pinks at the crease.

However, they formed a 131-run partnership and, despite Hebblewhite (27) falling late in the day, Pinks struck the winning runs to finish on 89 not out.

Rugby’s 1st XI travel to Solihull Municipal on Saturday, May 15 with the game set to begin at 12pm (midday) at Brick Kiln Lane.

The club’s 2nd XI host Nuneaton, the 3rd XI are at home Dorridge and the 4th XI are away at Dorridge.

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