Sunday, August 1st, 2021


Brett D’Oliveira continued his superb form with the bat, but Worcestershire Rapids suffered their first Royal London Cup setback of the season in going down by 13 runs to Middlesex at New Road.

The opening batsman followed his memorable hundred against Essex at Chelmsford with another excellent knock.

He figured in a century stand for the second wicket with Tom Fell, who batted impressively for 58, as the Rapids chased a 303 target.

Jake Libby and Gareth Roderick kept the Rapids in contention with 98 required off the final 10 of the 41 overs for a fourth successive win in the competition.

Libby became the third Rapids batsman to register a half-century – off 44 balls – but they ended just short on 289-7.

Stephen Eskinazi’s career-best List A score of 130 for Middlesex ultimately proved to be the difference between the two sides.

But a large crowd once again were treated to some great entertainment with almost 600 runs scored from 82 overs on a used hybrid pitch.

Middlesex opted to bat and Rapids paceman Charlie Morris began proceedings with an excellent maiden to Max Holden.

Club Captain Joe Leach asked questions of Holden, who lofted one delivery just over Adam Finch running back from mid-off and was beaten twice by fine deliveries.

Holden and Eskinazi were just starting to flourish when Holden (39) drove at Finch and fell to a fine catch by keeper Gareth Roderick away to his right.

D’Oliveira bowled a tight spell in mid-innings, but Eskinazi was full of improvisation in a sparkling innings.

He struck two sixes on his way to a 49 ball half-century and twice produced scoop shots for boundaries over the keeper in a run a ball century partnership with Robson.

The partnership was worth 129 in 19 overs when Robson (57) fell to a low catch by Tom Fell at mid-on off Ed Barnard.

Eskinazi completed his century off 83 balls with a risky two to backward point, although Roderick thought he had run him out before he made his ground at full stretch.

It was a near faultless innings containing four sixes and seven fours.

Morris returned to the attack to have Peter Handscomb (4) caught on the cover boundary, and Jack Davies (19) went across his stumps to Barnard and was bowled.

Eskinazi went onto make 130 before he was caught behind off a leading edge against Leach and some late hitting from Martin Andersson (38 not out off 11 balls) lifted the final total past 300.

Worcestershire openers Jack Haynes and D’Oliveira had put on a club record 243 in the previous game against Essex and again looked in good form.

A pick up by D’Oliveira off Ethan Bamber brought him six over mid-wicket, and Haynes pulled James Harris for four.

The pair got through the powerplay without being parted before Haynes on 17 went for a cut and edged James Harris to keeper Robbie White with the total 37-1.

D’Oliveira greeted Andersson’s introduction with a scoop for six over fine leg.

New batsman Fell also looked in good touch and collected two boundaries in an over from Andersson and smashed Thilan Walallawita for six over mid-wicket.

There was warm applause for D’Oliveira’s 53 ball fifty, and the 100 partnership with Fell was completed from just 83 balls.

D’Oliveira moved onto 74 in another fine knock but then was caught at long-off attempting another big hit off Luke Hollman.

Hollman also brought an end to an impressive innings of 58 from Fell, with Eskinazi holding onto a skier at backward point.

The Rapids needed 98 from the final ten overs, and Roderick lifted Harris for six over mid-wicket while Libby also cleared the ropes at the expense of Ethan Bamber.

Roderick made a quickfire 23 before Walallawita bowled him, and Barnard hit 18 from 13 balls before he was caught at cover off Bamber.

Libby brought up his half-century in a grand manner with a straight six off Walallawita before Josh Dell (nine) was bowled in the same over.

After making a fine 58, from 47 balls with two sixes and one fall, Libby fell to Harris, but even there was late defiance from Josh Baker with a last over six.