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25th Oct, 2021

Rugby back on track in style

RUGBY returned to winning ways in Birmingham League Division Three with a six-wicket victory over Newport on Saturday.

Rugby captain Owen Edwards lost the toss and his side were sent to field.

It did not take Lee Golding long to make a breakthrough, striking in the third over of the match, but then disaster struck for Rugby when he broke down with injury and was forced to leave the field.

Fortunately for Rugby, Henry Wilkins was into a good rhythm at the other end and bowling with nagging control to restrict Newport’s scoring rate to under three an over.

Wilkins took the second wicket when he got one to swing back dramatically and clean bowl Mark Downes (15).

Edwards then introduced himself and soon accounted for Jonathan Goodwin (24) to reduce Newport to 46-3.

Neal McGrath struck early to remove Ed Fowler (14), before the visitors finally managed to build a meaningful partnership between captain Jamie Prew and Ian Gillespie.

However, McGrath (2-23) maintained his control, eventually nicking off Gillespie (20) after a 40-run stand.

This wicket exposed a long Newport tail and, with spinner Naresh Kaushal bowling an immaculate spell at the other end, Rugby showed their ruthless streak.

Kaushal removed Prew (26), before Wilkins (2-20) returned and took his second wicket.

The last six wickets fell for just 24 runs as Kaushal (4-11) ran through the lower order and Newport were bundled out for 130.

Michael Hughes and Jeevan Barhey (10) started Rugby’s response comfortably, until Barhey drove leg-spinner Shabbir Khan loosely to mid-off with 22 on the board.

He was replaced by Raj Chohan (16) who was then trapped lbw.

At 54-2, Edwards joined Hughes at the crease and Rugby’s skipper immediately upped the tempo with the pair adding 42 in five overs.

Hughes (40) and Henry Parker (1) fell in successive overs but Edwards kept the scoreboard moving towards victory.

Edwards (43no) and Wilkins (18no) sealed victory in the 28th over and, with Stratford losing to Stourbridge, Rugby’s 24-point victory moved them back up to second.

Rugby make the trip to Redditch on Saturday.

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