RUGBY CC suffered a narrow four-run defeat against Sutton Coldfield despite a heroic effort from captain Wes Landsdale to get his side’s run chase over the line in their Warwickshire County League Premier Division clash.
Sutton Coldfield won the toss and chose to bat first and, after losing an early wicket to Seth Westley, they made a positive start against some wayward Rugby bowling.
Amir Shabir (55) and Graham Clark (35) added 61 for the second wicket, but when Lee Golding broke their partnership, the game quickly turned in the home side’s favour.
Golding followed up with the prize wickets of Lee Thomason (4) and Aaron Thomason (8) in quick succession to reduce the visitors to 97-4.
Rugby failed to capitalise on this position though, allowing the game to drift in the middle overs as Jack Smith (43) and Raul Ram (28) batted well.
There was a wicket each for Landsdale, Owen Edwards and Danny Sadiq, before Neal McGrath returned at the death to take the final two wickets and bowl Sutton Coldfield out for 222.
This score looked below par in good batting conditions, but Rugby lost both openers cheaply again and were immediately on the back foot, with Felix Haynes doing the damage.
Other than the in-form Landsdale, all of Rugby’s top order found ways to get themselves out with poor shot selection costing them dearly.
Golding (16) offered the best support, but it was slim pickings for Rugby’s batters, as Landsdale played the sole hand throughout the innings.
By the time the ninth wicket fell, Rugby had slumped to 164-9 from 43 overs and it seemed the only option was for the Landsdale to keep the strike and try to hold on for a losing draw.
However, he had different ideas and launched into the bowling in hunt of an improbable victory, racing to a second century in as many weeks.
Suddenly, 48 runs came from the next six overs, leaving 12 to win from the final over and when Westley (10 not out) clipped a four through mid wicket, the equation was down to just 7 from 4 balls.
However, Sutton Coldfield held their nerve and a good piece of fielding from the penultimate ball saw Landsdale run out as he scrambled to try to keep the strike.
His mammoth effort was worth 134 from 151 balls, with 12 fours and six maximums, but ended in disappointment as Rugby were bowled out for 218.
Elsewhere, Rugby’s 2nd XI moved clear at the top of the table with their sixth win of the season and are now the only side with a 100 per cent record in the division.
They were put into bat by Ambleside and had contributions throughout the order to post a match-winning total.
After losing an early wicket, Lee James (26) and Bhavik Rathod (45) got the innings on track, before James Nuttall (58) top scored.
There was a wobble in the middle order, but Keval Rathod (21), Aravind Katragadda (19), Rob Stipanovic (15) and Jon Sage (15) all chipped in to get RCC to 214 all out.
Ambleside’s reply started badly when James Nuttall struck in the first over, but Graham Woods (26) and Sam Neale (25) laid a good foundation after this.
However, Nuttall removed them both, including a great catch by Keval Rathod, and went on to take the first five wickets for the second time this season.
His efforts reduced the home side to 64-5, but Jake Healey (39) and Sam Wotherspoon (46) combined to get Ambleside back in contention.
The pair added 94 for the sixth wicket, when captain Bhavik Rathod came back on and produced a crucial second spell to secure victory for his side.
He claimed three quick wickets, whilst Katragadda and Sage took one apiece and the last five wickets fell for 22 runs to give Rugby victory by 34 runs.
And Rugby’s 3rd XI took the lion’s share of the points from a winning draw in a local derby against Newbold.
Batting first, youngster Dan Pinks (65) top scored with another half century, well supported by Liam Hebblewhite (49), Rishi Tank (26) and Kieran Vaghela (22).
Sam Letts (3-39) was the pick of Newbold’s attack, as Rugby reached 216-9 from their 45 overs.
Newbold batted cautiously in response, happy to secure a losing draw with Richard Meacham (50 not out) their biggest contributor in their 178-6.
Tom Rigby (2-21) and Tank (2-6) were the pick of Rugby’s attack, with Muhammad Obaid and Rubans taking a wicket each.