By Jamie Arrowsmith 28/05 Updated: 28/05 12:15
RUGBY maintained their position at the top of Warwickshire League Division One as they earned a fourth successive win with a 33-run success over visitors Pickwick P&M on Saturday.
Batting first was a formality once the toss was won by Matt Ewer and the Rugby batsmen looked forward to filling their boots on a hot afternoon.
Whether it was complacency, rustiness or poor shot selection though, it was not to be the afternoon expected as a string of Rugby batsmen got in, looked good and then got themselves out.
Lee James (23) looked in particularly fine fettle before being stumped as Pickwick brought on two slow bowlers who would bowl 28 overs between them.
At one point Rugby looked in danger of being out for under 150 but Owen Edwards displayed the form that has made him one of the most dangerous players in the league with a mature knock of 83 as he built a sixth wicket partnership with Alex Smith (15) that looked to be pushing Rugby to a total in excess of 200.
Unfortunately the tiring Edwards fell victim to an extremely good caught and bowled and the tail collapsed, leaving Rugby 189 all out after only 43.2 overs.
This was a below-par score and criminal not to bat the full 50 overs. The batting will have to improve if Rugby are to maintain their form.
However, Rugby worked extremely hard with some excellent fielding and straight accurate bowling and the game descended into stalemate as, with 56 overs to bat, Pickwick felt no pressure to force the pace but could not score against the disciplined Rugby bowling.
Riv Monsell (13-4-39-2) bowled a tremendous spell straight through including bowling both openers. Matt Ewer was frustrated with a first spell of 10 overs for only 15 runs but with no wickets as reward.
Pickwick looked to be grinding their way to victory when they reached 72-2 with the dangerous Khan alternating striking the ball with power with numerous airshots.
Owen Edwards produced a stunning off-cutter to remove the number 3 bat and Andy Ward bowled his first spell for the club with great discipline to get the figures of 7-1-12-1.
The reintroduction of Ewer swung the course of the game firmly in Rugby's direction as he bowled Khan (40) and, with the ball degrading on an abrasive pitch, he started to generate reverse swing and clean bowled three more batsmen to finish his spell with 15-8-21-4.
Mo Sadiq chipped in with a great caught and bowled to end with 7-2-31-1 and Edwards (5.2-1-23-2) finished the game off by clean bowling the Pickwick number 10 to give RCC another win.
This was a very hard fought victory based on a bowling unit delivering as a team and a concentrated fielding effort maintained over 50.3 overs on a hot afternoon.
RCC 2nds got their season up and running with a convincing win at Offchurch.
Batting first upon winning the toss, Rugby piled on 266 runs with many contributions. Ed Pell and Keith Bradbury both scored their first half centuries of the season, with Pell especially playing some classy shots.
On a small ground this was not guaranteed to be enough, but youngster Druhv Koria stepped up to the situation in glorious fashion by bowling two spells and taking 6-18 to bowl out Offchurch for 164 in only 37 overs.
The win propels the 2nds up the league table and, with confidence high, they will be looking to build on this result in the coming weeks.
RCC 3rds were hoping to continue their exceptional form with a third consecutive 24-point win and they did indeed, but unfortunately due to Water Orton not raising a side.
This was frustrating for the 3rds but keeps them top of the table at this early stage.
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