Sunday, August 27th, 2023


Worcestershire Rapids narrowly missed out on a place in the semi-finals of the Metro Bank One Day Cup after coming close to chasing down a 307 target against Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl.

The Rapids were given an ideal platform by Rob Jones and Gareth Roderick during a second wicket century stand.

Captain Jake Libby sustained the momentum with his fourth half century of the tournament and he was given fine support by Kashif Ali and Ben Cox.

But the Rapids fell just short and closed on 296-9 to lose by just 10 runs.

It brought an end to another white ball tournament in which they had produced excellent cricket to qualify from the group stages after their previous success in the Vitality Blast.

Now, all their focus will switch to trying to secure promotion from Division Two of the LV=Insurance County Championship during the final month of the campaign.

Hampshire had totalled 306-9, with former England Under-19 captain Aneurin Donald scoring a fine century.

But then the Rapids bowlers struck back in excellent fashion in taking six wickets for 67 runs from the final 13.4 overs.

Pat Brown (1-50) bowled three excellent spells, Josh Baker had the unusual feat in white ball cricket of delivering two wicket maidens, while Dillon Pennington and Logan van Beek also struck twice apiece.

The Rapids fielding and catching was also generally of a high standard.

They made one change from the side which triumphed in the final group game against Sussex, with Brown replacing injured all-rounder Matthew Waite.

Libby opted to bowl after winning the toss, and Pennington and Joe Leach bowled a tight line with the new ball with the opening four overs yielding just seven runs.

Fletcha Middleton accelerated and picked up three boundaries in an over but Pennington made the first breakthrough with 49 on the board in the ninth over.

Nick Gubbins (15) attempted a pull shot but only succeeded in picking out Brown at mid wicket.

Brown then came into the attack and he struck in his second over to end Middleton’s aggressive innings of 41.

He also attempted to pull a ball dug into the wicket and Gareth Roderick clung onto a low catch at deep mid wicket.

It became 75-3 when Tom Prest (16) became the third player to aim a legside blow and be dismissed and he holed out to Azhar Ali at mid wicket off Logan van Beek.

Hampshire were then 77-3 in the 16th over but Aneurin Donald and keeper Ben Brown then figured in a partnership of 162 in 20.5 overs.

Donald completed back-to-back centuries in the tournament from 63 balls with four sixes and 11 fours.

Josh Baker broke the stand when Donald (115) drove powerfully, only for van Beek to hold onto a stinging catch at cover.

Several Worcestershire players sportingly shook hands with Donald as he left the outfield to a standing ovation before Baker completed a wicket maiden.

There was more joy for Baker when Liam Dawson (19) tried to run a delivery down to third man and was bowled.

Worcestershire collected a sixth wicket in the same over when Toby Albert (0) turned Baker to mid wicket, set off for a risky single and was run out by Azhar Ali’s throw to Ben Cox.

Brown completed a 63 ball half century but on 66, he top edged Pennington and fell to a catch by Cox who sprinted back 30 yards.

The wickets continued to tumble, with Libby making a double contribution in the field.

The Rapids skipper first demonstrated a safe pair of hands when running back from mid on to dismiss Keith Barker (5) off van Beek.

He then reacted quickly to run out Mason Crane (3) with a direct hit after he drove Brown to mid-off.

Pennington finished with figures of 10-1-65-2, Joe Leach 10-1-60-0, Brown 10-1-50-1, van Beek 10-0-62-2 and Baker 10-2-64-2.

When the Rapids batted, Azhar Ali (4) was undone by a delivery of extra bounce from Keith Barker and caught behind.

But then Roderick and Jones joined forces for a splendid partnership of 124 in just 21.5 overs.

Both batters scored freely and boundaries came on a regular basis all around the wicket.

Roderick off drove Brad Wheal for four to bring up the 100 partnership and completed his own fifty from 42 balls with the next delivery with a pull to the boundary.

Jones quickly followed him to his half century from 61 balls.

The partnership was finally ended when Roderick (64) attempted a slog sweep and was bowled by Liam Dawson.

Jones (67) was then caught at short extra cover off Dawson but Libby and Kashif Ali then developed another solid partnership to maintain the Rapids momentum.

They added 67 in just 13 overs before Kashif (34), who hit 21 sixes in the group stages, sliced Mason Crane to backward point.

Ninety three were needed off the final ten overs but Libby and new batter Ben Cox kept the scoreboard moving along at around the required rate.

They added 66 before Cox (26) was pouched at long off from a Wheal full toss, and in the same over, van Beek (2) went lbw.

Libby advanced to a run-a-ball 70 before he aimed a big blow at Barker in the 48th over and was caught at long with 21 needed.

Leach (6) went lbw to Wheal from the first delivery of the penultimate over, and three balls later, Pennington (0) was bowled by the same bowler.