IT WAS a debut to remember for Asaad Qureshi after his century helped Rugby return to form thanks to a winning draw away at Bedworth in the Warwickshire League Premier Division.
The hosts had no hesitation in choosing to bowl first upon winning the toss and making use of the overcast conditions, but Rugby’s innings began confidently.
In the absence of pinch-hitter Henry Wilkins, Rugby would have expected to begin their innings at a more sedate pace than usual, but Rishi Tank (20) had different ideas.
He struck 5 boundaries from his first 11 balls, before edging to slip in the fourth over, but number three Matt Ewer (20) continued the free scoring before he and Henry Parker (2) fell in quick succession with Rugby on 65 for 3.
Captain Owen Edwards
This brought captain Owen Edwards to join remaining opener Qureshi at the crease and the pair compiled a match-changing partnership of 116 before Edwards was caught on 51.
At this point, Rugby were well placed to score 300, but the innings lost momentum and the new batsmen struggled to rotate the strike, but Qureshi continued to dominate and reached a magnificant 118 from 127 balls, which included 17 fours.
Frustratingly, Rugby lost their last seven wickets for only 68 runs and were eventually bowled out for 249.
On a good batting pitch with a fast outfield, Rugby knew this score was only par at best but early inroads saw Edwards remove Valeed Butt (8), Matt Pickering (4) and Scott Friswell (4) in a testing opening burst, as Bedworth slumped to 49 for 3.
Tom Wilkins picked up a fourth wicket, but opener Parnell continued his good day with a hard hitting knock that took the attack back to Rugby.
Parnell (80) and Matt Payne (16) moved the score to 132 for 4, before Krish Dhokia and Matt Ewer accounted for both men in consecutive overs.
At 133 for 6, it appeared that Rugby would romp home, but a swashbuckling innings from Lewis Peacock turned the game dramatically back in Bedworth’s favour.
Peacock hit 58 from 39 balls as the the hosts looked to have taken the game away from Rugby, but Dhokia struck again and Bedworth needed just 17 from three overs to win with three wickets in hand.
However Rugby’s bowlers found something left in the locker with superb spell of death bowling. Dhokia’s left arm spin was partnered by Lee Golding, as the next two overs yielded just seven runs and suddenly Rugby were back in the hunt.
Dhokia took the final over and, after a Parnell (42) was run out and a stumping soon followed, Bedworth ended up on 245 for 9.
Rugby secured the winning draw and 18 points to end a run of miserable form and the team will take renewed confidence into next week’s clash with Coleshill.