Friday, August 19th, 2022


Taylor Cornall came within three runs of his maiden List A century to lead Worcestershire Rapids to a second win in 48 hours as they overcame Essex Eagles by seven wickets in a Royal London Cup encounter at New Road.

The left-hander followed his 61 in the victory over Northamptonshire with another excellent contribution as the Rapids chased down a 280 target with eight balls to spare.

He shared in a decisive second wicket stand of 158 in 28 overs with Gareth Roderick, who hit his maiden List A half-century for Worcestershire.

Cornall was eventually lbw to Luc Benkenstein for a superb 97, but Jake Libby and Ed Barnard saw the Rapids over the finishing line.

It completed an excellent day for Worcestershire in which pace bowler Josh Tongue had launched his senior comeback with two wickets after 14 months out of action with a shoulder problem.

He bowled with plenty of pace and picked up the prized scalps of in-form Grant Roelofsen and Feroze Khushi.

Dillon Pennington, Ben Gibbon and Ed Barnard also bowled impressively as Essex were restricted to 279-9 in 50 overs.

Rapids keeper Ben Cox was also celebrating after his 600th dismissal in all cricket with his two catches.

Libby opted to bat, and Gibbon made the first breakthrough when Josh Rymell drove at the left armer and edged to Ed Pollock at first slip.

Essex captain Tom Westley went into the game as his leading run-scorer in the competition with 335, but he went lbw first ball against Dillon Pennington in the next over.

Roelofsen and Khushi added 55 in nine overs, but Tongue came into the attack and was rewarded when Roelofsen on 31 went across his stumps and was caught by keeper Ben Cox down the legside.

There was more joy for Tongue when Khushi (43) went to pull a delivery that came onto him quicker than expected, and Cox running back, held onto another legside chance.

Worcestershire were firmly in the ascendancy when Nick Browne was run out by Ed Barnard’s direct hit at the non-strikers after he had turned Dillon Pennington to point and set off for a single.

Essex were then 132-5, and Luc Benkenstein on three had a let-off when he inside-edged Tongue through to the keeper.

Tongue’s permitted quota of eight over for his comeback match resulted in encouraging figures of 8-0-41-2.

Benkenstein also survived a sharp chance at mid-wicket off Libby, and he and Das brought about an Essex recovery during a stand of 83 in 13 overs.

It took a good catch by Ed Pollock running around to deep mid-wicket to break the stand after Das aimed a big blow at Barnard.

His List A best 63 off 64 balls contained nine boundaries.

Gibbon struck for the second time as Aron Nijjar picked out Tongue at mid-on, and then Pennington took a good at mid wicket to dismiss Benkenstein off his own bowling after he attempted a hook.

His 55 was also his best score in List A cricket and came from 59 deliveries with seven boundaries.

It became two wickets in two balls for Pennington as Jamal Richards was bowled after playing an expansive drive before some late blows by Shane Snater lifted the final total to 279-9.

Pollock, recalled to the side in place of the injured Azhar Ali, got the Rapids innings off to a flying start.

He clipped Ray Toole through mid-wicket for four and on drove Snater for another boundary before hitting the latter over mid-wicket for 6.

Pollock made 34 from 25 balls in an opening stand of 50 with Taylor Cornall before he pushed forward to Jamal Richards and was bowled.

Cornall was joined by Roderick, and the pair batted with great authority and kept the score moving along at the required rate throughout.

Cornall raced to a 59-ball half-century with Roderick needing only six more deliveries to reach his maiden List A fifty for the Rapids.

Seamers and spinners alike were not allowed to settle, although Cornall had a life on 67 when he was dropped at mid-wicket off Toole.

Roderick was full of improvisation, twice reverse sweeping Westley for boundaries, but the same stroke eventually brought about his downfall on 76 from 85 balls.

He picked out Jamal Richards at point off Benkenstein to end a partnership of 158 in 28 overs with Cornall.

All eyes were now on Cornall to see if he could reach three figures, but he fell agonisingly short when lbw to Benkenstein and left the field to a standing ovation.

Libby and Barnard ensured there were no late scares for the home side with an unbroken stand of 57.