RUGBY have put themselves in pole position for the Whitney Cup with a 23-run victory in an emotion-charged one-day contest at No.3 Oval on Saturday.
Chasing 182 for victory, Colts could only make 158 as Adrian Carey (3/43), Cameron Duffy (2/12) and Zac Murphy (2/19) did most of the damage with the ball for the defending premiers.
In a game full of the niggle which goes with all good sporting rivalries, Mitch Bower was the standout player in the match, batting 25 overs in the excessive heat as he made 72 to help Rugby to 9/182.
Bower received assistance from captain Jordan Moran (38) and Ben Taylor (35) as Rugby self-destructed from 1-100 just after drinks.
Former NSW Country quick Tim Cox, who came on second change rather than take the new ball, was the pick of the Colts bowlers, taking 3-24 off his eight overs while spinner Jakke Gardiner was expensive but vital as he took 3/43 from five overs, including the key wicket of Bower.
Western Zone representatives Greg Buckley and Jason Ryan, who claimed four stumpings while wicketkeeping, opened the chase for Colts and took the score to 23 before Buckley fell to the bowling of Murphy for six.
Ryan was next to go for 15 and from this stage on Colts really failed to put together a partnership to get themselves in with a chance of winning.
Brad Cox batted well for his 29 and Matt Keenan made 24 but it was left to Tim Cox, batting at number nine to try and bring the chase home.
Cox made an unbeaten 30 and looked comfortable but he ran out of partners when Sean Mason was run out in the 37th over to leave Colts all out for 158.
The win moves Rugby back to the top of the Whitney Cup ladder and sets up a big two-day match against Colts in three weeks time.