The Rapids make it two from two.
Worcestershire Rapids enjoyed their second win of the week, following up a 42 run win up at Chester-le-Street with a four wicket win over Glamorgan at New Road. Worcestershire fielded the same eleven that had performed on Tuesday, while Glamorgan introduced a number of their younger players for this game, three making their List A debuts.
In some ways this paid off as 19-year-old Ben Kellaway was the only batter to come to terms with the Worcestershire attack. He was particularly comfortable against the spin duo of Josh Baker and Brent D’Oliveira and was last man out for 82 off 74 balls, as Glamorgan were dismissed for just 199 inside 41 overs.
Glamorgan were put into bat in conditions favourable to the Rapids’ seam bowlers, but the opening batters made a steady start with the occasional play and miss. Ben Gibbon was the first to strike after a wayward opening over in which he conceded seven wides. He enticed Tom Bevan to play at a delivery outside off stump and Azhar Ali took the catch in the slips, with the score on 36 from 7.1 overs.
Some bad luck, misjudgement and good bowling led to the next three wickets, leaving the score on 72/4 from 14.1 overs. Colin Ingram was run out at the non-strikers end as Gibbon deflected a drive from Eddie Byrom onto the stumps and then Byrom played on to Dillon Pennington as he tried to leave the ball. A fine delivery from the same bowler then nipped away from Billy Root and Ben Cox took the catch.
That brought Kellaway out to join captain, Kiran Carlson and they seemed to be regaining control until Carlson (26) tried to launch D’Oliveira over long on and was pouched by Azhar Ali on the boundary. They had taken the score to 137/5 and then it was a matter of how many Kellaway could piece together with the tail. Alex Horton was run out needlessly and it was only Jamie McIlroy who provided enough support for the total to reach 199, with 9.4 overs left. D’Oliveira finished with 3/37 while Pennington and Baker both had figures of 2/41.
When it came to the chase, the Rapids were never really under pressure. D’Oliveira was caught behind off an inside edge off the bowling of Harry Podmore for 22 and then Ali and Rob Jones put on a century partnership without being troubled by the bowling. The second wicket fell in the 32nd over with the score on 136, Jones hitting Carlson to long on for 37. This was the first of four wickets for Carlson as the Rapid’s batters tried to hasten their way to the target.
Ali was smartly stumped by Horton down the leg side for 78 and then Kashif Ali gave Bevan his second catch at long on. Cox lobbed the ball to Ingram at long off and Carlson ended a tidy spell of 4/48. With the score on 190, Worcestershire lost their sixth wicket as Matthew Waite thick-edged a ball from Andy Gorvin to Ben Morris at short third man. Despite the hiccoughs, Jake Libby (24 not out) guided them home with 8.3 overs to spare, the winning runs unfortunately coming as five wides.
After the game Azhar Ali said: “We have a very balanced side. Especially last year we lacked a bit of spin in the middle so we have Dolly and Bales. Both their first two games have been fantastic so we always knew that we have a very good side, but obviously starting well is always very important in any tournament, so yeah, we are very happy the way we started, but really it’s just a start; but we want to keep going and make sure that we keep improving game by game and keep winning games also.
The Glamorgan coach David Harrison said: “We talked about this competition as giving these guys opportunities. Obviously Ben Kellaway playing the way he did today was unbelievable. Ben Morris getting a taste of first XI cricket against good players on a good pitch and Alex Horton getting his first run out in a 50-over comp. So yes, it’s exciting. I’m really excited about the next seven games. We’ve got a good blend of youth and experience and hopefully those younger players can learn a lot from the senior guys.”
Worcestershire look a side who have the resources to challenge for a top three spot in the group following two strong performances, while for Glamorgan it appears that they are using the competition more as a development exercise. It will be interesting to see how they approach selection for their next game against Derbyshire on Sunday. They may need to look at how they can add some penetration to their bowling attack. Meanwhile, the Rapids will be full of confidence as they move on to Taunton to take on a Somerset side who lost today (see Harry Everett’s report: https://deepextracover.com/2023/08/warwickshire-beat-somerset-by-four-wickets-in-metrobank-one-day-cup-opener-in-taunton/) and are shorn of nine first team players, but who have brought in Ireland’s exciting all-rounder, Curtis Campher and Lancashire’s Danny Lamb on loan.