Head Coach Alex Gidman has given his reaction to Worcestershire Rapids Vitality Blast North Group campaign.
The Rapids made big steps forward compared to the 2020 season and missed out on a quarter-final spot by the smallest of margins in finishing fifth.
They won six matches, and there were some notable scalps, including Lancashire Lightning and Birmingham Bears at New Road and also a home tied encounter against Notts Outlaws – three of the four teams to reach the last eight.
Fast-bowler Dillon Pennington, leg spinner Ish Sodhi and all-rounder Brett D’Oliveira also enjoyed fine individual seasons.
But a brilliant unbeaten century from Josh Inglis earned Leicestershire Foxes victory in the deciding game against the Rapids at the Uptonsteel County Ground.
Gidman said: “A lot of emotion at the moment. Clearly disappointing, but disappointed for the players and our supporters.
“I thought we batted really well to get back into it against Leicestershire and put up a competitive score that we thought was about par.
“We knew we had to bowl well, but that was an exceptional innings from Josh Inglis, and this is the beauty of the game, that one guy can bat magnificently like that and win the game single-handedly.
“We’ve had a few like that against us this year from some amazing cricketers, and we have to learn to emulate performances of that kind.
“It would have been nice not to have been on the receiving end, but fair play to him (Inglis). He played very, very well.”
Gidman added: “It has been a tough campaign for all teams, extremely competitive. We’ve played some outstanding cricket and taken some very good teams down, but equally, we slipped up a couple of times which has cost us.
“There have been a couple of games where we feel we could have taken advantage from some of the positions we were in, but equally, we won a couple of games from some tough positions when the opposition felt they should have won.
“We can’t complain. We just missed out. The four powerhouses from our group have gone through. We couldn’t quite match them and get over the line and nudge one of them out.
“It’s been a significant improvement from last year when we had a poor campaign and plenty more improvement and work to do.”
Pennington constantly picked up wickets in the powerplay.
Gidman said: “It has been a great competition from a personal point of view for a few lads. Dillon has been exceptional.
“His job in this format of the game is not particularly easy, but the thing that stands out about Dillon is that he has got really good players out.
“He has bowled at tough times, particularly in the powerplay, which is a brutal time to bowl.
“Brett has had a great campaign, he has been outstanding, and there have been other very good contributions as well.
“Really proud of the players for their effort and attitude, and it has been a good campaign for a few lads individually. Sadly we didn’t quite get over the line as a group.”
On the contributions of overseas players, Ben Dwarshuis and Sodhi, Gidman said: “First and foremost, they have been outstanding guys to have around.
“They have been brilliant off the pitch, and on the pitch can’t fault their effort and attitude.
“They have been such good pros for us, and we have learnt a huge amount from them.
“On the pitch, they’ve been really good as well and single-handedly made some really good contributions and been a key part of our group.”