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25th Oct, 2021

Ewer stars in Rugby thriller

RUGBY sealed a 113-run home victory over Birmingham League Division Three strugglers Old Elizabethans in a dramatic finish when they took the final wicket with just one ball to spare.

With captain Owen Edwards still sidelined, Henry Parker lost the toss for the third week running and found his side asked to bat first.

A pair of dubious lbw decisions reduced Rugby to 23-2 early on, but Matt Ewer joined Raj Chohan in what became a match-defining partnership.

Both batsmen passed 50 in a 146-run stand before Chohan (68) was dismissed.

Three wickets fell for 19 runs, including Ewer (75), but Henry Wilkins and Asaad Quershi formed another important stand.

Wilkins (31) and Qureshi (32) added 55 for the sixth wicket and showed the benefit in Rugby’s batting depth.

Vish Rathod (19) chipped in with some late runs before Rugby were bowled out for 295 in the final over.

A rampant Ewer then turned his attentions to bowling and immediately began to scythe through the Worcestershire side’s top order. In a remarkable opening spell, Ewer (4-15) accounted for the top four batsmen and reduced OEs to 12-4.

After such an emphatic start, Rugby could have been forgiven for thinking they would romp home to victory but Lee Dixon and Alex Bastable put up some firm resistance. The pair added 113 for the fifth wicket. Just as it looked like the batsmen had taken the sting out of Rugby’s attack, Neal McGrath (1-46) struck a crucial breakthrough to remove Dixon (59).

Lee Golding then removed Bastable (47) soon after.

After a luckless first spell, Golding (3-47) got his reward in his second burst and, along with Rathod (1-29), got Rugby to within one wicket of victory.

However, the overs continued to tick by and as Wilkins grabbed the ball to start the 55th over, it looked like OEs would deny Rugby a deserved win.

But with the penultimate ball of the match Wilkins found a moment of magic to burst an in-swinger through the batsman’s defence and uproot the stumps as OEs finished on 182 all out.

Rugby entertain Lichfield on Saturday.

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