During the break of today’s first RLODC quarterfinal, Sky aired a fascinating documentary on the life of Bob Willis. The flick, planned for the innings break, came early as Worcestershire Rapids threw away a glorious position of strength with the vigour of a Sunday driver to be all out inside 43 overs.
At 155-3, having doctored up the initial 42-3 with some of the finest first aid from Moeen Ali and Daryl Mitchell, 300 was easily on the cards on a strip made for stroke play but a Peter Trego instigated collapse ultimately hounded out in a nine wicket defeat. Somerset, set an underwhelming 211 to win, got there with Mahela Jayawardene (117 not out off 111 balls) and Jim Allenby (81 off 96 balls) hitting the right notes that evaded the Rapids.
Jayawardene was especially severe on anything short, cutting and pulling to good effect and thus enabling an afternoon of serene viewing for the good crowd that turned up to witness this event. The opening wicket partnership was worth 188 and Trego returned to the crease to finish what he started, allowing his teammates to bask in the glory of a good day’s work and the spritely sun.
Rapids opted to bat, despite winning their last two matches while chasing, and from the outset it was axiomatic that the risk free assessment that Somerset’s openers followed later on had evaded them.
Tom Kohler- Cadmore never got going and, in an attempt to force his way through, edged to Jayawardena at first slip for 2.
Tom Fell, Rapids’ form batsman, was in an unnecessarily gambling mood early on abandoning his normal assured self and had a life when an edge flew between the wicket keeper and second slip. He didn’t cash in on it though, attempting an expensive lofted hit only to find Tom Abell at backward point.
The alarms were certainly on when Joe Clarke chipped to Roelof van der Merwe off Josh Davey but not only did Ali and Mitchell switch the impeding danger off, with a stand of 113 he also put Rapids on course for a big score. However, both were lulled into their own plain Jane moments by Trego and it sparked a Waterloo that couldn’t be prevented even by the generally reliable Ben Cox and Joe Leach.
Leach’s run out, where he attempted a non-existent second with Ed Barnard, epitomised the Rapids innings: where they came up short after building themselves for greener pastures. Somerset, who were favourites coming into this match, clearly had an answer to everything that came their way and deserve their ticket to the semi-finals.
It would have been rather engrossing to hear what Willis had to say about Rapids batting performance, though.
Man of the match: Peter Trego
Jayawardene’s hundred anchored the chase and, along with Allenby, ensured their middle order had a day off, but it was Trego’s spell in the middle of the innings that heralded this rout. The wickets of Ali, Mitchell and Ross Whiteley paralysed Rapids march towards a competitive score and add Leach’s run out, Trego deserves a free pint for his efforts today.