Friday, August 5th, 2022


Ed Barnard and Taylor Cornall figured in a record-breaking stand for a depleted Worcestershire Rapids side who went down by 44 runs to Hampshire in a Royal London Cup encounter at the Ageas Bowl.

The pair added 130 in 27 overs for the sixth wicket – the highest partnership by Worcestershire for the sixth wicket against any opposition in List A cricket.

It surpassed the 121 by former skipper Phil Neale and wicket-keeper Steve Rhodes versus Yorkshire at New Road in 1988 and put Worcestershire firmly back in contention.

Their efforts revived Worcestershire’s hopes of achieving a 237 target, but they were eventually dismissed for 192 in 45 overs.

It left Barnard undefeated on 85 from 105 balls in another magnificent knock.

Hampshire were bowled out for 236 in 49.3 overs on a pitch with bounce, carry, and some lateral movement after being put in.

The ever dependable Joe Leach picked up three wickets, and left armer Ben Gibbon and Adam Finch enjoyed bowling in the helpful conditions and collected two wickets apiece.

The Worcestershire front-line batters also encountered difficulties, and, at 36-5, the home side were firmly in control.

But Barnard and Cornall slowly but effectively rebuilt the Worcestershire innings during their splendid partnership.

Barnard continued the superb form he has shown all season, knocking the ball around effectively and punishing the occasional loose delivery.

Cornall also demonstrated great maturity for someone who was making their List A debut for the Rapids.

Worcestershire were forced to reshuffle their line-up after keeper Ben Cox (sickness), and spinner Josh Baker (back) were ruled out.

Henry Cullen, who recently signed his first professional rookie contract, was handed his senior debut behind the stumps and kept tidily and pouched two catches.

Cornall’s first List A appearance for Worcestershire added to the two games for Lancashire in last summer’s competition.

Jake Libby, now captaining the Rapids after Brett D’Oliveira’s call-up to The Hundred by Birmingham Phoenix, won the toss and put Hampshire into bat.

Leach made the first breakthrough when Nick Gubbins (6) mistimed a drive and was caught at mid-off.

Gibbon shared the new ball and was also rewarded when Aneurin Donald (18) went for a big hit and was bowled.

Cullen was able to celebrate his first catch, a fine low effort away to his left, after Tom Prest inside-edged a delivery from Ed Barnard.

With no front-line spinner in the side, Libby and Cornall were able to bowl some tidy overs from the hotel end of the ground.

Fletcha Middleton and Ben Brown featured in the major stand of the game when adding 85 for the fourth wicket, but Leach returned to break the stand.

Middleton (49) opened the face but only succeeded in nicking through to Cullen.

Leach almost had a third scalp but was unable to hold onto a fierce return drive from Felix Organ on one.

But Cornall collected his first wicket when he drilled a delivery outside the off stump to Libby at short extra cover.

There was further joy for Leach when Organ (17) found the safe hands of Barnard at long on.

It became 174-7, with Barnard this time making no mistake at mid-wicket after Ian Holland (8) perished against Libby.

Scott Currie, with an unbeaten 43 off 27 balls, and Toby Albert (19) added 54 in 6.2 overs before the innings was quickly wrapped up with three wickets falling for eight runs.

Albert (19) was caught by Cornall at extra cover off Finch who then bowled John Turner (0) off his pads, while in between, Jack Campbell (0) was bowled by Gibbon after working to leg.

Leach finished with figures of 9-0-41-3, Gibbon 9-0-33-2, Finch 9.3-0-44-2, Barnard 10-0-57-1, Libby 7-0-30-1 and Cornall 5-0-28-1.

The Rapids found it challenging themselves with the bat against the new ball attack of Currie and Holland.

Ed Pollock (5) flicked the first ball of the innings from Currie backward of square for four but unsuccessfully tried to repeat the shot against Holland with Organ taking the catch.

Fellow opener Azhar Ali (0) attempted to work Holland to leg and was leg before.

Gareth Roderick (2) was undone by a ball of extra bounce as he tried to cut Holland and Prest accepted the chance at first slip.

The same combination then accounted for Libby (8), who had battled away for 27 balls, while Kashif Ali (9) nicked another sharp delivery to Prest off Turner.

But Cornall came to the wicket to be the perfect foil for Barnard, and they gradually lifted Worcestershire back into contention.

Barnard went to his half-century off 72 balls with three boundaries, and Cornall also started to accelerate.

The stand was broken when Cornall, having made 43 off 73 deliveries, lofted Organ to long on and then Leach (5) was lbw sweeping at the same player.

Cullen (3) skied a catch to the keeper, attempting a big hit against Turner and Currie wrapped up the game by dismissing Finch (6) and Gibbon (0) in quick succession.