Tom Kohler-Cadmore scored his maiden century in List A cricket as Worcestershire Rapids went down by 23 runs to Northamptonshire Steelbacks in a high-scoring Royal London One-Day Cup match at New Road.
Kohler-Cadmore made a superb 119 from 126 balls with one six and 11 fours – his fourth ton of the campaign in all cricket – as Worcestershire made a strong bid to chase down a 320 target in 50 overs.
The Rapids reached 193-1 at one stage in the 33rd over in pursuit of what would been their record run chase had they pulled it off.
But they lost some momentum in the overs ahead of the final powerplay and were eventually bowled out for 296 with one ball remaining and must now look to triumph in their final two matches – at home to Lancashire Lightning and away to Notts Outlaws – in their bid to reach the quarter-finals.
Joe Leach had taken a hat-trick with the first three balls of the corresponding fixture last season and he struck with the fifth delivery of today's game when Josh Cobb (0) cut the County's vice-captain to Brett D'Oliveira at point.
D'Oliveira held onto another catch in the same position offered by Rob Keogh (17) off Jack Shantry and it became 58-3 when Alex Wakely (4) was trapped lbw by Ed Barnard.
Ben Duckett, who has been in excellent form for England Lions, continued in the same vein and added 99 in 16 overs with Adam Rossington.
Leach broke the stand when Duckett (86) mistimed a pull to Tom Fell at mid on after a run of 631 runs in seven innings during the last nine days.
Daryl Mitchell brought himself into the attack and accounted for Rob Newton (18) whose lofted sweep was pouched by Leach at deep backward square leg.
Leach picked up a third wicket when D'Oliveira took a superb catch running in from long on to send back Rossington for 87 at 236-6 in the 41st over.
A stand of 76 in nine overs between Steven Crook (52 not out) and Rory Kleinveldt (37) ended when the latter perished off Charlie Morris to Barnard at deep square leg.
Worcestershire launched their reply in positive fashion with Mitchell and Kohler-Cadmore putting on 68 in 15 overs.
Mitchell looked in good touch and produced several impressive boundaries in making 43 off 48 balls before he was bowled by Mohammad Azharullah.
Kohler-Cadmore and Tom Fell put together an excellent partnership of 125 in 18 overs to take Worcestershire to 193-1 in the 33rd over.
Kohler-Cadmore drilled Tom Keogh for six over long off and turned Graeme White for four through mid wicket to reach 50 off 58 balls.
Fell went to the same landmark from 48 deliveries with a single off Steven Crook but, when on 54, he drove at Richard Gleeson and was bowled.
Alexei Kervezee (11) was caught and bowled by White and D'Oliveira (7) chopped on a delivery from Rory Kleinveldt.
Kohler-Cadmore brought up his three figures off 113 balls with a six and eight fours and Worcestershire were left requiring 98 from the final 10 overs.
Ross Whiteley lofted Azharullah and Cobb for sixes before holing out to Keogh at long on off White for 22.
Two balls later the same bowler ended Kohler-Cadmore's fine knock on when he was yorked for 119 from 126 balls with one six and 11 fours.
Richard Gleeson mopped up the lower order by taking the last four wickets to finish with 5-47 – his first five wicket haul in professional cricket.
Leach (1) was bowled, Barnard (14) and Ben Cox (16) were caught at cover and Shantry (0) fell at mid off – the last three in the final over of the innings.