SKIPPER Owen Edwards could not hide his delight as Rugby returned to Birmingham League Division Three winning ways with a resounding 223-run success over struggling Whitchurch.
After suffering their third defeat of the campaign the previous weekend at the hands of Redditch, Rugby got back on the promotion hunt on Saturday to consolidate second spot in the league.
Rugby’s Matt Ewer smashed an unbeaten 117 off 69 balls as the hosts set a daunting target of 349-6 from their 55 overs before skittling the Shropshire visitors for 126 in reply.
The victory reduced the gap between Rugby and league leaders Stourbridge, who hung on for a losing draw against Handsworth, to 20 points.
“After losing last week, this was exactly the kind of performance we needed,” said Edwards.
“We have relied too heavily on our bowlers this season, but we know our batsmen are capable of dominating matches and hopefully this gives us the confidence to keep doing it.
“Although Whitchurch are bottom of the table, they had a good bowling attack, so they were not easy runs and we had to work hard.
“Having said that, Ewer’s innings at the end was pretty outrageous.
“I’m not quite sure how to describe it but it was very entertaining.”
Edwards was relieved to win the toss and gave his batsmen the chance to make hay in the glorious sunshine at Webb Ellis Road.
Henry Wilkins (8) departed early doors and was soon followed by Raj Chohan (21).
Edwards joined Jeevan Barhey at the crease and the pair hit boundary after boundary to push the run rate up to six-an-over.
The introduction of spin bowling stemmed the flow of runs but Rugby continued to dominate before Barhey (59) was removed, bringing an end to a 159-run stand with his captain.
Edwards (96) was next to go, followed by Henry Parker (0) to leave Rugby at 204-5.
Ewer then picked up where Edwards left off, showing his ruthlessness with the bat as he crashed 14 boundaries and six maximums in a majestic innings to fire Rugby to 349-6.
In reply Neal McGrath (4-34) and Henry Wilkins (3-17) tore through the opening and middle order to leave Whitchurch floundering at 78-7.
Naresh Kaushal (2-9) and Vishaal Rathod (1-36) mopped up the tail to give Rugby a convincing victory.
Rugby travel to Handsworth on Saturday.