A DISAPPOINTING performance from RUGBY saw them slump to a losing draw at home to Solihull Municipal as poor fielding and a limp batting display cost them dearly in the Warwickshire Premier Division.
Municipal had no hesitation in choosing to bat first after winning the toss on Saturday and they looked confident from the outset.
Matt Ewer removed Jamie Bissett early on, but Jonathan Stanley joined George Gray at the crease and the pair soon accelerated the scoring but they were helped by a number of dropped catches by the home side.
Stanley was the main aggressor with 95, throwing caution to the wind and finding regular boundaries, before falling just short of a century when he was bowled by Owen Edwards.
Alex Roselyn (36) continued the momentum, although he was out to Mo Sadiq late in the innings, while Gray (100*) reached his century in the finally over as Municipal closed on 264 for 3.
Frustratingly for Rugby, the cloud cover appeared in time for their innings and bowling became a far more appealing prospect as Rugby’s reply started badly when Lee James got a rough lbw decision in the fourth over.
Steve Ward (29) was promoted to open the innings due to an injury to Rishi Tank in the field and he was joined my Matt Ewer (25) in a positive partnership.
However, once Shoaib Masood (4 for 39) broke this partnership, Rugby slumped from 67 for 1 to 79 for 5 in the space of just three overs.
Rugby captain Edwards (32) fought back, but wickets continued to tumble and the hosts looked set for defeat at 144 for 9. However, Vishaal Rathod and Johnson negotiated the remaining overs to closed on 157 for nine to hold on for a losing draw.
Rugby were on the wrong end of an important toss, with conditions for the two innings very different, but they needed to produce a much better performance to compete in a game when they failed to turn up.
A FIVE wicket haul for Nick Crane went some way to ensuring that WILLOUGHBY got their South Northants League Division One season off and running at the second attempt with a comfortable eight-wicket win.
Having joined the club over the winter, Crane, who was making his South Northants Cricket League debut, took an impressive 5 for 21 as hosts Croughton batted first and were bowled out for only 77, with Tom Stevenson also getting in on the act by taking 4 for 24.
In reply, Willoughby lost only two wickets in their pursuit of the target. Martin Nichols and James Barnwell progressed well until the former was dismissed just before tea.
At the resumption, skipper Ian Hughes made an interesting 22 before he too departed but Barnwell and Stevenson went on to complete the job without any further alarms.
Barnwell finished on 23 not out as the visitors comfortably won by eight wickets to set themselves up nicely for this Saturday’s local derby meeting with Dunchurch & Bilton at The Green.
The joy of the first team was not mirrored by a depleted second team who fell to a eight wicket defeat at home to visitors Preston Bissett in Division Three.
Ironically the two sides met in the last league encounter of last season when the hosts secured promotion, but this time the visitors made amends in convincing fashion.
The home side were inserted on a damp soft pitch still suffering the after effects of recent rains, and only Ian Andrews managed to master the conditions after top scoring with 43 out of the home side’s eventual 92 all out.
In reply, Preston Bissett progressed slowly but steadily to their target despite skipper Ben Hollis returning a useful spell of bowling. Both he and Derek Middlemiss took fine catches after the drinks break but that proved to be the only successes as the visitors then cantered to victory with over ten overs to spare.