RUGBY’S struggles with the bat led to a convincing defeat in their Warwickshire County Premier Division opener at Walmley, losing by a 118-run margin.
Rugby’s fielders had limited the 2019 champions to a 192-9 total from their 45 overs at the John Findlay Memorial Ground but the visitors then collapsed to 74 all out.
Given the efforts made to put Walmley on the back foot at 127-9, it appeared that an opening-day victory for Rugby was on the cards.
Neal McGrath took three wickets for 34 runs, and was well supported by teammates Owen Edwards (2-20), Daanyal Sadiq (2-27) and Matthew Ewer (2-38) in stunting the hosts’ search for runs.
With Walmley’s back to the wall, tailender Jamie Hall (51 not out) well and truly dragged his side out of the mire, firing a half-century from only 24 balls.
With a much-more sizeable tally to try and shoot down, Rugby replied in unconvincing fashion, losing wickets at regular intervals to halt their hopes of challenging the target score.
Of the Rugby batsmen, only Charlie Robards, Neal McGrath (both 16), Henry Parker (12) and Ewer (11) reached double figures, as Walmley’s Dinuk De Silva (6-27) ran riot to end the innings inside 30 overs.
Rugby entertain Stratford-upon-Avon on Saturday.
WILLOUGHBY continued their preparations with two convincing friendly victories at the weekend.
Saturday’s 188-run triumph over Braunston Paddox was the most impressive of the two, as Willoughby stormed to a score of 244-8 at Woolscott Road.
Scott Cluely (52) and Dan Farrow (78) set the tone for the innings, with Braunston only managing 56 in reply.
It was Dave Alcock’s four-wicket haul which ultimately rubber-stamped the win, skittling the majority of the visitors’ remaining batsmen for only five runs conceded.
The contest with Stoneleigh provided a closer-fought affair on Sunday, but Willoughby again impressed by hitting 184-5 after winning the toss.
Losing their first wicket after Martin Nicholls (25) and Matt Cartridge’s (18) stand of 50 runs, the hosts finished strongly through Mark Fell and Ashley Rayner (both 44 no).
And with Nikesh Mistry (4-19) shining brightest to limit Stoneleigh to 101 runs during their innings, the 83-run win was sealed.
Willoughby entertain Monks Kirby on Sunday.