Worcestershire suffered their first defeat of the season in the Metro Bank One-Day Cup despite a second half century in three innings from Ben Cox as they went down by 36 runs to Somerset at Taunton.
Cox held the second half of the innings together as he shared in stands of 45 with Kashif Ali and 73 with Joe Leach as the Rapids chased a 288 target.
But three wickets in the space of seven balls tipped a see-saw game in the home side’s favour and the Rapids were eventually bowled out for 251 in 44.3 overs.
They will now look to bounce back in successive home matches with Gloucestershire on Thursday and Warwickshire next Sunday.
The Worcestershire bowlers recovered in fine fashion after the home side had got off to a free-scoring start to their innings.
James Rew scored a fine century but Somerset, after reaching 241-3 in the 42nd over, lost six wickets for 46 runs in 8.2 overs.
Ben Gibbon finished with List A best figures of 3-58 and showed great character after a challenging opening over which cost 22 runs in total.
Dillon Pennington again bowled impressively and there was a promising List A debut for Cameron Jones who in one spell of seven overs had figures of 1-28.
The bowlers were backed up by a series of superb catches in the latter stages of the innings, with Kashif Ali excelling out in the deep, as halted Somerset’s momentum.
When Worcestershire replied, all of their top five got good starts to their innings and kept up with the required run rate of 5.86 per over for long periods.
But no-one was able to play a lengthy innings until Cox came to the crease and then the last five wickets fell for 19 runs.
It was a proud day for Jones who came into the side in place of the rested all-rounder Matthew Waite.
He joined the Academy mid-way through the 2021-2022 intake and is also part of the current 2022-2023 intake.
Jones had made his first senior appearance for the Rapids in last Sunday’s National Counties Showcase match against Shropshire at Shrewsbury CC when he had figures of 1-18 from six overs.
Somerset captain Sean Dickson opted to bat after winning the toss on the same pitch used for Friday’s One-Day Cup game with Warwickshire.
His side got off to an aggressive start although George Thomas was fortunate to top edge Gibbon over the head of keeper Ben Cox for four.
Leach shared the new ball and he struck in his first over when Thomas (18) nibbled at a delivery which moved away and Cox held onto the chance with 31 on the board.
The 50 came up in 5.2 overs but Leach came close to a second scalp when Andrew Umeed on 21 clipped a delivery inches over the head of Josh Baker at full stretch at mid wicket.
Leach and Pennington slowed down the run rate and conceded only 14 runs from the final five overs of the powerplay.
Jones came into the attack for the 12th over with the total 64-1 in tandem with Josh Baker.
Lewis Goldsworthy just eluded the hands of Kashif Ali at deep mid-wicket when striking Baker for a maximum.
Jones struck in his fourth over when Umeed attempted a leg glance which was anticipated by Cox who took a good low catch away to his left at 96-2 in the 18th over.
Goldsworth on 32 survived a return catch off Baker low down to his left and another to extra cover off Ben Gibbon.
But on 47 he stepped back to try and cut Brett D’Oliveira and provided Cox with his third catch of the innings after adding 51 with James Rew.
Rew and Dickson (37) put on 94 before Pennington struck when the latter sliced a catch to Leach at wide third man.
There was joy for Baker in his final over when George Bartlett made room to cut but was bowled by his leg stump.
Gibbon made a further breakthrough when Curtis Campher (6) could only pick out Pennington at deepish mid on.
Rew completed a 92 ball century but then went for a big hit against Gibbon and fell to a good low catch by Kashif Ali at deep mid wicket.
Kashif then produced an even better catch after Danny Lamb (6) pulled
Pennington, having the presence of mind to parry the ball into the air from the boundary edge and then stepping back over the ropes to complete the dismissal.
Pennington then pulled off a fine catch of his own in the final over from Gibbon.
Ned Leonard (2) sliced the ball on the off side and Pennington running back from backward point dived forward to complete the catch.
Gibbon finished with 9-0-58-3, Leach 7-0-36-1, Pennington 10-0-53-2, Jones 7-0-28-1, Baker 10-0-57-1 and D’Oliveira 7-0-50-1.
Worcestershire began their reply with a flurry of boundaries from D’Oliveira and Azhar Ali.
D’Oliveira collected two fours in the opening over from Jack Brooks who had a brief loan spell at New Road earlier in the season.
Azhar also picked up three fours in quick succession and again looked in good form after his impressive contributions against Durham and Glamorgan.
But on 14 was bowled by Leonard and then D’Oliveira (19) was caught at deep square leg off the same bowler.
Rob Jones was soon into his stride with an off drive against Brooks and a pull at Leonard’s expense and captain Jake Libby punished Campher for two boundaries in his first over.
The Rapids reached 72-2 at the end of the initial 10 over powerplay.
Libby (14) became the third player to depart with his score in the teens when he was caught behind off Lamb.
Kashif came down the wicket and drilled Lamb over long on for six and then Jones off drove Shoaib Bashir for a maximum and batted fluently to make 41 off 48 balls.
But he was then run out by Goldsworthy’s direct hit after Kashif turned Bashir on
the leg side and set off for a quick single with the total 114-4 in the 19th over.
Cox joined Kashif in the middle and also kept the score ticking over, sweeping Goldsworthy for four and pulling Bashir to the ropes as the Rapids reached 143-4 at the half-way stage.
Kashif had a life on 35 when he was put down at mid-on off Campher but added only two more before he was caught and bowled by Brooks after adding 45 with Cox.
Leach joined Cox and the pair revived Worcestershire’s hopes during a partnership of 73 in 13 overs.
Cox completed his half century from 56 balls with five boundaries.
Leach then went into overdrive with a six over long off against Bashir and then striking Lamb for three boundaries in an over.
The sixth wicket pair put Worcestershire into a position at 232-5 where 56 were required from the final 10 overs but then three wickets fell without addition to the total.
Cox’s fine knock on 58 ended when he top edged a catch onto the off side against Campher who in the same over had Baker (0) caught at cover.
Leach made a run a ball 41 but then was lbw sweeping at Goldsworthy who then had Gibbon (5) stumped in his next over before Jones (0) was caught at mid wicket off Campher.