Warwickshire Cricket League Premier Division
Bablake Old Boys vs Rugby
CRICKET: RUGBY experienced a dramatic change of fortunes on Saturday, with a humiliating batting collapse plunging them to a 125-run defeat at the hands of Bablake.
After being on right sight of a similarly comprehensive result last week, Rugby went into the match full of confidence and were well set at the half way point, after good work from spinners Krish Dhokia and Steve Ward.
However, Bablake quickie Dan Brooks ripped through the Webb Ellis Roaders in a devastating opening burst that claimed seven wickets and left Rugby in tatters.
Earlier in the day, Matt Ewer won the toss and elected to field first, favouring a run chase, despite the good batting conditions, against a Bablake side that don’t have great firepower in their batting armoury, but had a well-tuned game plan.
Rugby’s seamers toiled fruitlessly for the first 20 overs, creating one edge that was spilt behind the wicket, but little else and the hosts’ openers progressed confidently.
At the 25-over drinks break, Bablake had reached 99 without loss and appeared set for a big total, before the spin of Dhokia and Ward turned the game round dramatically.
They accounted for Josh Manning (50) and Mark Eames (49) in quick succession, before strangling the scoring rate against the new batsmen.
They bowled 15 unchanged overs apiece, taking wickets at regular intervals, including a fine one-handed catch by Charlie Robards at point.
Ward (3/38) and Dhokia (4/64) were the only wicket takers in the innings, while the home-side captain Steve Swaffield (30*) took his side to 190/7 from their 50 overs.
This appeared below par on a placid pitch in warm conditions, but it didn’t take long for Bablake, and Brooks in particular, to undermine this concept.
He produced a magnificent delivery to trap the in-form Robards lbw with the first ball of Rugby’s reply, which was a sign of things to come.
Alex Smith (11) and Owen Edwards (12) had the scoreboard moving quickly for a while and the game looked well set at 32/1, before the wheels came off for Rugby.
Edwards edged behind off Adil Hussain in the sixth over and utter carnage ensued for the visitors’ batting line-up.
Nobody else reached double figures, with left-armer Brooks claiming 7 for 18 and reducing RCC to 65 all out, as nine wickets fell for just 33.
After the highs of last week, this was a real reality check for Rugby who will need to improve dramatically against early-season league leaders Aston Manor next week.