RUGBY were thankful to the rain for cutting their match short on Saturday and giving them a losing draw as Nuneaton looked well on course for victory when the weather intervened their Warwickshire League Premier Division clash.
In bowler friendly conditions, it was no surprise when Nuneaton chose to field first after winning the toss, but Rugby’s innings started confidently.
Asaad Qureshi (21) and Henry Wilkins (17) added 37 for the first wicket, before a rain break appeared to disrupt their momentum and, upon the resumption, three wickets fell for 30 runs.
Captain Owen Edwards joined Henry Parker in the middle and the pair stopped the rot with some watchful defence and began to move the game back in Rugby’s favour.
However, just as they began to up the tempo, Edwards (28) received a terrible umpiring decision, inexplicably given out caught behind.
There was a break in play while the opposition debated retracting their appeal, but ultimately decided to embrace the umpire’s decision and the Rugby skipper had to depart.
The incident appeared to rock Parker (26) who played an uncharacteristically loose shot to the next ball and suddenly Rugby were in trouble again at 116 for 5.
Thankfully for the hosts, Rugby’s lower order demonstrated the value of their deep batting line-up, as Bhavik Rathod (29) looked in great nick and kept the scoreboard ticking.
Left-handers Raj Chohan and Jack Rosser added 20 apiece, before Rugby were eventually bowled out for 208, with Paul Rowe (3 for 36) the pick of Nuneaton’s attack.
Further rain between the innings reduced Nuneaton’s allocation to just 35 overs, but they started briskly and were clearly targeting a win to keep their title challenge on track.
Jason Jakeman (21) scored the bulk of the runs and moved the score to 32, before he received a good ball from Edwards that nipped back and bowled him.
At this point, Nuneaton could have settled for a revised winning draw target, but showed their ambition and attacked Rugby’s bowlers.
Rugby did not help themselves in the field by dropping four chances, two of which were regulation, and the visiting side took full advantage.
When the rain finally ended proceedings early, they had reached 178/1 from 31 overs and were in full control of the match.
Sarfaraz Pathan (84 not out) and Marco Higgins (64 not out) had cashed in on their fortune and batted with confidence and skill, leaving Rugby fortunate to pick up eight points from the match.
Elsewhere, Willoughby’s home clash against league leaders MK Afro Caribbean in the South Northants Cricket League fell victim of the wet weather.
A huge downpour of rain just over an hour before the start of play left swathes of water across the pitch and outfield forcing the game to be cancelled.