RUGBY CC suffered their first defeat of the season after they were beaten by five runs against Bedworth in a close game in the Warwickshire County League Premier Division.
The visitors fell agonisingly short in their chase of Bedworth’s 240-9, reaching 235-7 from their 50 overs to fall five runs short of the required total at Miners Welfare Park.
Bedworth won the toss and elected to bat with Neal McGrath (3-50), Owen Edwards (2-32) and Seth Westley (2-39) the pick of the Rugby bowlers.
However, Kyle Taylor’s 62 and Finn Haynes 50 frustrated Rugby who struggled to break up Bedworth’s partnerships.
Rugby made a disastrous start to their innings, slipping to 3-2 which included losing openers Alex Watson and Michael Hughes for ducks before then falling to 15-3.
Wes Landsdale rescued Rugby with an impressive 87 off 105 deliveries and formed a crucial partnership with Owen Edwards (54), as the pair put on 139 for the fourth wicket.
However, Rugby lost three wickets in the space of 12 balls, which included the dismissals of both Landsdale and Edwards to hand Bedworth the initiative.
And Rugby were left chasing the game in the closing stages and, despite George Mackenzie’s 42 not out from just 30 balls, the visitors fell just short of the total required to lose for the first time this season.
The defeat leaves Rugby in second place after three matches, one point behind leaders Solihull Municipal, whilst just six points separate the top eight teams.
Elsewhere, Rugby’s 2nd XI maintained their winning start to the season as they eased to a nine-wicket success over Atherstone to stay joint top of the table.
Bowling first on a warm day at Webb Ellis Road, three early wickets were shared by Bhavik Rathod, Brett Markham and Abhay Lal to reduce the visitors to 46-3.
Opener James Burch was then joined by Keiran Wordsworth (32) in a 56-run partnership, but once young leg spinner Amaan Shah accounted for the latter, wickets fell regularly.
Shah (3-48) got on a roll, whilst a direct hit run out from Lee James finally removed Burch (61).
Markham (3-28) returned to polish off the tail, along with a wicket to Aravind Katragadda, as Atherstone were bowled out for 167 in the 40th over.
Rugby’s reply never looked in doubt from the moment that Charlie Robards clipped the first two deliveries to the square leg boundary.
With Robards and James at the top of the order, two former 1st XI openers, Rugby 2nds have a strong batting line-up and their quality made light work of Atherstone’s target.
They had cruised to 145 before James (54) became the only wicket to fall, whilst Robards continued to dominate and finished on 99 not out from 102 balls, featuring 14 fours and three maximums.
An under-par performance from Rugby 3rd XI left them to hang on for a losing draw in their first league match of the season.
Coventry WIW batted first and had a number of useful contributions in their 216 all out, the largest of which came from Kirubakaran Karunagaran (40).
Spinners Murali Natajaran (3/29) and Kurran Barhey (3-40) were the pick of Rugby’s bowlers, whilst Liam Hebblewhite (2-48) and Theo Nelson (1-29) were the other wicket takers.
Rugby’s reply never got going with wickets tumbling from the outset, as Usama Syed (4-15) did the damage and they were indebted to a determined rear-guard from Dan Pinks (23 not out) to secure a draw.
Four other players reached double figures, but none scored more than 12 and Rugby finished on just 104-9.
Rugby fielded a fourth league side for the first time ever on Saturday and the new 4th XI began life with a winning draw, largely thanks to Aravind Ram’s debut century.
Ram (107 not out) was well supported by youngster Advay Pophali (66) in Rugby’s total of 233-9 from 40 overs, before a strong bowling display restricted the home side to 150/7.
Captain Jag Barhey (2-11) was the pick of the bowlers, whilst Muhammad Obaid, Matt Raffell, Max Johnson and Pophali took a wicket apiece.
Rugby’s 1st XI are next in action at home to Coventry and North Warwickshire CC on Saturday, May 7 with the game set to begin at 12pm at Webb Ellis Road.