RUGBY finished their season with a lack-lustre performance that saw them lose their final match of the summer in by the narrowest of margins.
Needing 208 to win in their Warwickshire Premier Division clash at Bablake Old Boys, Rugby appeared to be cruising to victory with five runs needed from ten balls and with four in hand.
But a series of careless dismissals saw them lose the match by one run.
A rain delay reduced the match to 48 overs and after winning the toss Owen Edwards chose to Bablake in to bat first.
But Rugby’s bowlers lacked the discipline that has made them so effective in recent weeks and allowed Ross Arnold (59) and Matthew Naylor (30) to compile a confident 67-run opening stand.
It was not until Edwards introduced himself in tandem with left-arm spinner Tom Wilkins that Rugby were able to gain some control and break through.
Wilkins (12-0-44-4) was the pick of Rugby’s attack and took a wicket in his first over for the fourth consecutive match and Edwards (10-0-27-1) was the most economical bowler as 67 without loss became 127 for five.
However, Tom Cowley (45 not out) and Steve Swaffield (32 not out) shared a combative partnership of 80 unbroken runs to help their side post a total of 207 for five.
Rugby’s reply started well, despite the early loss of Henry Wilkins (11), as the in-form duo of Charlie Robards and Henry Parker took control of the run chase.
Both men struck the ball crisply and looked in little trouble as they added a 93-run stand, before Parker (42) played around a straight one with the score on 114.
Robards (73) was at his best, producing a series of classy boundaries, but he and Matt Ewer (20) fell in quick succession and Bablake sensed an opening when 157 for two suddenly became 183 for six.
A couple of straight sixes from Edwards (28) looked to have put the game beyond doubt and needing just five to win, Rugby should have eased home but a sloppy finish saw the last four wickets tumble for just three runs in ten balls and Bablake secured a one-run win.
The result did not have an affect on Rugby’s final league standing of fourth and the Webb Ellis Roaders can look back on the season with satisfaction having enjoyed their best ever finish in the Premier Division.