RUGBY tightened their grip on second place in Birmingham League Division Three with a four-wicket victory over promotion-chasing Pelsall.
Hosts Pelsall opted to bat but were soon in trouble against in-form bowlers Matt Ewer (3-29) and Lee Golding (3-35).
Golding struck with the first ball of the second over before Ewer picked up three wickets in quick succession, including the dangerous duo of Tom Boyd and Todd Henderson.
Having been at 31-4, Pelsall recovered to 135-5 when Vishaal Rathod removed Keith Moody (56) but the middle and lower order continued to chip in with handy runs.
Dan Wale (19), Waqar Ahmed (14) and Tom Wright (33) kept the scoreboard ticking over as Pelsall were dismissed for 193 in the 42nd over.
In reply, Rugby got off to a disastrous start, quickly slumping to 40-3 as Pelsall’s bowlers took control.
However, skipper Owen Edwards (26) and Michael Hughes (59 not out) steadied the ship and brought Rugby back into the game.
Just as Rugby were getting on top Edwards (26) and Ewer (8) departed in quick succession to leave the visitors reeling at 84-5.
Henry Parker (25) and Hughes added 48 runs for the sixth wicket before the former was removed.
With 62 runs still needed for victory, Henry Wilkins (43no) finished the game with a flurry of boundaries while Hughes played a crucial anchor role as Rugby reached 197-6 to steal the points.
“It was a great win,” said skipper Edwards. “Pelsall are a strong side and play tough cricket, so to go to their place and get the win was really pleasing.
“Those are the competitive matches that really test a side and I was proud of our performance.
“They came hard at us with the ball, but Hughes’ knock was the difference between the sides.
“After getting promoted last season, we never expected to have such a successful year, but our confidence has grown through the summer and we are playing some really good cricket.
“It’s going to be hard to catch league leaders Stourbridge but just being in contention at this end of the table is a real achievement.”
Rugby, 27 points behind Stourbridge, make the trip to third-placed Old Hill on Saturday before playing host to Milford Hall on Bank Holiday Monday.