Tuesday, July 27th, 2021


Worcestershire Rapids superbly defied the odds with the ball in a rain-hit encounter to triumph by 11 runs against Gloucestershire at Bristol in the Royal London Cup.

Jack Haynes followed up his 77 in the superb win over Kent with an excellent top score of 59 in Worcestershire’s total of 228-7 from 40.3 overs.

Jake Libby, Josh Dell and Gareth Roderick also made valuable contributions, and there was a late flourish from Club Captain Joe Leach and Josh Baker in helping to post a competitive total.

A series of stoppages for rain meant the Gloucestershire target was reduced initially to 114 runs from 14 overs and then 94 off 11 under the Duckworth-Lewis Method.

The odds in those circumstances are generally stacked in favour of the side batting second.

But Worcestershire’s attack executed their plans superbly in restricting Gloucestershire to 82-4 to make it two wins out of two.

Young spinner Baker showed his quality and ability to handle pressure by conceding just four runs in the penultimate over and taking the wicket of Jack Taylor.

Eighteen were needed from the final over by Leach, and he showed his quality in following up his two early wickets.

He ended with figures of 2-15 from three overs and Baker 1-13 off two.

The Rapids made one change against Gloucestershire with Brett D’Oliveira, available after a sore shoulder, replacing Jacques Banton.

Gloucestershire put Worcestershire into bat, and openers Haynes and D’Oliveira gave them the Rapids a positive start.

They put on 33 before D’Oliveira (14) was caught off the second ball of the sixth over from Josh Shaw at backward point after hammering the previous delivery back down the ground for four.

Haynes looked full of confidence, reeling off a series of fine strokes and also top-edging Daniel Worrall for six over third man.

The first delivery of spinner Tom Smith’s spell accounted for Tom Fell (13), who pushed forward and was caught behind.

A single off Graeme van Buuren enabled Haynes to complete an excellent half-century from just 52 balls with one six and six fours out of 91-2.

Libby gave the opener good support, and the Rapids 100 came up in the 17th over.

Haynes moved onto 59 but then went to pull Matt Taylor, and the ball lobbed up to George Scott at backward square leg.

Van Buuren and Taylor bowled tightly in the middle overs of the innings and there was a spell from the 18th to 31st overs without a boundary being scored.

Two wickets fell in two balls to Van Buuren during that period, with Libby (33) caught and bowled and Ed Barnard lbw for nought after attempting a sweep.

Dell looked in good nick, pulling Scott and Shaw for boundaries, and he and former Gloucestershire player Roderick, rebuilt the innings via a stand of 50 from 45 balls.

Roderick (23) was bowled by a delivery from Shaw, which nipped back shortly before rain halted proceedings at 194-6 from 34 overs.

Dell (32) was caught at extra cover off Smith when play resumed, but Leach and Baker gave the innings some late momentum by adding an unbroken 33 from 36 balls.

Baker straight drove and pulled Worrall for two boundaries in an over and lofted the same bowler over long-off to the ropes.

He ended unbeaten on 21 and Leach 19 not out before rain intervened again three deliveries before the scheduled closure of the innings.

Leach struck two blows in his first over when Gloucestershire set off in pursuit of their revised target.

He had Ben Charlesworth (1) caught at short third man, and then Tom Lace lobbed up a chance to cover.

It became 33-3 when Chris Dent (25) nicked an Adam Finch delivery to keeper Roderick.

Gloucestershire added thirteen more runs before the players left the field after a sharp shower with 5.5 overs bowled.

The figures were again revised to leave Gloucestershire needing an overall total of 94 from 11 overs.

Leach rotated his bowlers, and the Rapids were always in contention despite some sound striking from van Buuren (38 not out).

Baker was tossed the ball for the 10th over, and he conceded just four singles and had Jack Taylor caught at backward point.