Wednesday, August 16th, 2023


Rob Jones scored his maiden century for Worcestershire Rapids as they overpowered Northamptonshire Steelbacks by seven wickets at Wantage Road to remain on course for the knockout stages of the Metro Bank One Day Cup.

The number three batter reached three figures with a quickly taken single off Rob Keogh as he and Jake Libby shared in a record-breaking stand of 194.

Jones, on loan from Lancashire before starting a three year contract next summer, saluted his team-mates who in turn gave him a standing ovation.

His hundred was completed from 112 balls with two sixes and nine fours and he went onto make 122 before finally being dismissed shortly before victory was completed.

Jones judged the situation perfectly after Worcestershire had lost two early wickets in pursuit of a 253 target, knocking the ball into the gaps but also producing some excellent strokes and powerful hitting.

Libby was the perfect foil in another fine innings during his prolific season and he ended unbeaten on 81 as victory was achieved with 6.5 overs to spare.

The Jones-Libby partnership surpassed the previous List A third wicket best for Worcestershire versus Gloucestershire of 179 by David Smith and Graeme Hick at New Road in 1986.

It was an excellent all-round professional performance from the Rapids to secure a fourth win in six group matches.

They bounced in superb style from the setback against Warwickshire on Sunday and dominated with ball and then bat for long periods.

Dillon Pennington and Matthew Waite set the tone with new ball with early wickets to immediately put the Steelbacks on the back foot after they had been put into bat.

Logan van Beek, Pat Brown and Josh Baker ensured the pressure was maintained although an excellent century from Tom Taylor lifted the final Northamptonshire total to 252 all out.

Then, after some quickfire early hitting from Ed Pollock, it was Jones and Libby who dominated the remainder of the match.

The Rapids made one change from the side in action against Warwickshire with Pat Brown replacing the rested Joe Leach.

Libby put the Steelbacks into bat and Pennington and Waite were soon amongst the wickets.

Waite struck in his first over when Emilion Gay (0) pushed forward and was snaffled by Baker at second slip.

Ricardo Vasconcelos opted for an aggressive approach and collected three boundaries in an over.

But there was more joy for the Rapids when Sam Whiteman (2) was undone by a delivery of full length from Waite and trapped lbw at 19-2 in the fifth over.

Vasconcelos looked in good touch and had scored 25 off 27 balls when he was dismissed by Pennington.

The left hander nibbled at a ball angled across him and Baker produced an excellent catch low to his right in front of first slip.

The Steelbacks were restricted to 44-3 from the initial 10 over powerplay.

Rob Keogh and Luke Procter added 49 in 10 overs but then Brown was rewarded for a probing spell with wickets in successive overs.

Keogh (35) sliced a delivery to Rob Jones at point and then Justin Broad (1) flat-batted Brown to Libby at extra cover.

Procter was fortunate to edge Baker through the vacant first slip area for four but was then dismissed by the left arm spinner on 31 when holing out to Gareth Roderick at mid on.

There was a second scalp for Waite when Lewis McManus (15) came down the pitch and made a delivery into a yorker as he lost his leg stump.

Northamptonshire were indebted to an eighth wicket partnership of 108 between Tom Taylor and James Sales before the last three wickets fell for five runs.

Sales (25) was lbw to Pennington working to leg before Taylor completed his century.

Van Beek wrapped up the innings with two wickets in the 49th over with Simon Kerrigan (2) and Taylor (100) caught at mid off and long off respectively.

Pennington finished with figures of 10-1-47-3, Waite 9-0-42-2, van Beek 10-2-40-2, Brown 8-0-44-2, Baker 9-0-54-1 and Libby 3-0-17-0.

When Worcestershire batted, Gareth Roderick (2) was adjudged to have edged a delivery from Taylor onto his pads before he was given out caught at second slip after the two umpires consulted.

Pollock leg glanced Jack White for the first boundary of the innings and then off drove the same bowler to the ropes.

Jones clipped Taylor off his legs for his first four and immediately looked in good touch.

Pollock on drove Taylor for a six over long on but in the same over, after making 25 off 23 balls, was taken at deep square leg.

Jones and Libby joined forces and gradually rebuilt the Worcestershire innings.

They worked the ball around in effective fashion, picking up ones and twos and the occasional boundary.

Jones showed his power when striking Kerrigan for a big six over long off and turned Procter off his legs for two to complete his maiden fifty for the club.

It came from 55 balls with three fours and a six.

The 100 partnership was completed in only 16.4 overs and then it was Libby’s turn to reach yet another excellent fifty in a prolific season.

It was also completed from 55 balls with three boundaries.

Jones pressed his foot on the accelerator and there was no nervous 90s as he leg glanced Sales for four and two to move onto 99 before completing his century.

He moved onto 122 before he finally fell to Kerrigan with the catch taken at backward square with the total 234-3.

Kashif Ali joined Libby and had time to smash Procter for six over mid wicket before victory was sealed in 43.1 overs.