Tuesday, August 10th, 2021


Jake Libby hit a splendid 76 for Worcestershire Rapids, but it proved to be in vain as Durham triumphed by 46 runs in the final Royal London Cup group encounter at New Road.

Libby hit five boundaries in his 88 ball knock as the Rapids attempted to chase down a challenging 290 target in 50 overs.

There was some spirited late order hitting from Jacques Banton, Josh Baker and Charlie Morris.

But no one else was able to play a substantial knock in support of Libby’s performance, and the Rapids were bowled out for 243 in 45.1 overs.

It has been a mixed bag of a tournament for the Rapids in terms of results.

They won their opening three matches in impressive style and then failed to triumph in any of the last five and missed out, progressing through to the knockout stages.

But there have been plus points looking to the future in the blooding of and promising performances by youngsters like Baker and Banton.

Both have turned in encouraging displays with ball and batt and have not looked overawed by the step up to the senior squad.

Durham captain Scott Borthwick opted to bat first on a pitch being used for the fourth time in the 50 over competition.

Rapids Club captain Joe Leach and Morris shared the new ball for the initial ten over powerplay in which Durham totalled 40-0.

Alex Lees was fortunate to inside edge Leach for four, and a similar shot brought the same result off Adam Finch, who had recovered from a back injury and came on first change.

In between, Lees played some fine strokes and was the dominant partner in an opening stand of 73 with Graham Clark.

Spinner Brett D’Oliveira broke the stand when Clark (28) attempted to sweep a full toss and picked out Leach at backward square leg.

Borthwick (10) was then run out after a Jake Libby delivery bounced off his pad to backward point, and he failed to beat Barnard’s throw to keeper Gareth Roderick.

The accent was very much on taking the pace off the ball with D’Oliveira, Libby, Baker and Banton all having spells.

One delivery from Baker completely surprised Lees as it spun and took off past Roderick for four via an inside edge.

Banton had taken 3-15 against Sussex and struck again in his first over as Cameron Bancroft (11) gave him the charge and was bowled.

David Bedingham survived a caught and bowled off Baker on 41 and brought up his half-century in the same over with his fourth six off just 34 balls.

Finch brought about the downfall of Lees when he looked set to complete his third century in the tournament.

He had made 93 from 109 balls when he was bowled by a ball that nipped back after striking six and six fours.

Bedingham advanced to 66 from 41 balls before he lofted Baker straight to Banton at long off.

Sean Dickson (15) failed to beat D’Oliveira’s throw from deep mid-wicket attempting a second run off Barnard, and a slower ball from the all-rounder deceived Liam Trevaskis (10)

Ned Eckersley gave the Durham innings some late impetus with 36 off 27 balls before he went lbw to Finch hitting across the line, and Barnard dismissed Luke Doneathy (10) in the same manner with a swinging delivery.

Barnard finished with 2-52, Finch 2-54, Banton 1-18, D’Oliveira 1-51 and Baker 1-60.

Paul van Meekeren made two early breakthroughs for Durham.

He pulled off a fine low one-handed catch to dismiss D’Oliveira (5) and then trapped Tom Fell (6) lbw after attempting to pull a ball which kept low.

Libby looked in good nick and quickly collected a trio of boundaries before Jack Haynes (20) came down the wicket to Trevaskis and was stumped at 59-3.

Roderick (5) was lbw sweeping at Trevaskis.

Libby completed an excellent half-century off 49 balls with four boundaries, and Barnard gave him good support.

The pair added 47 before Barnard (15) swept at Clark and was caught at deep mid wicket.

Libby’s excellent knock ended when he fell to a sharp catch at extra cover off Trevaskis. He hit five boundaries in his 88 ball knock.

Banton, Baker and Morris, who hit two sixes, showed spirited resistance before the innings ended.