James Rew’s second List-A hundred, added to by 47 from Lewis Goldsworthy, before a lower-order collapse saw Somerset scramble to 287, but after Ned Leonard’s early breakthrough (2-38), set batters Ben Cox (58) and Joe Leach (41) were cruising Worcestershire to victory until the final 10 overs. Both fell in three wickets in seven balls, in total five wickets fell for 19 as the Rapids collapsed from 232-5 to 251 all out! Campher (3-51) and Goldsworthy (2-30) the latter-order destroyers.
Ben Gibbon started with three short balls, wide, five wides, then a top-edged pull for four, then two more emphatic pulls for four. Second slip out by the second legitimate ball. 18-0 after three deliveries. He came back well for two dots, but then went legside for four leg-byes to complete a dramatic first over. 22-0 after one.
The experienced Joe Leach started with a leg-stump half volley Andy Umeed hit for three, next ball Thomas inside edged for four. 29-0 after 1.2. Final ball of the second over did see the first Worcestershire breakthrough though, Thomas edging behind for 18. Umeed looked comfortable, arguably more so than he had ever before in a Somerset first team match. Like Jonny Bairstow is famous for, just as all think he is due to be dropped, he pulls a big innings out of the fire.
Thus it was a real surprise when debutant Cam Jones had him strangled down the legside for 34. Less blameable than some of his recent dismissals, but a big chance missed for Umeed when set and looking more dominant and middling even his defensive shots. On 100-2 Goldsworthy, on 32, leading edged to Baker’s left who dropped with his outstretched lefthand.
Rew showed his phenomenal cricket brain for a 19-year-old, noticing early that the Rapids had five men outside the circle in the 21st over, so switch hit for six, then told the umpires it’s a no ball! Goldsworthy continued to live a slightly charmed life as he chipped one just over extra cover off Baker in the 25th, but did rotate the strike nicely in the middle-overs, accompanied by some sumptuous punches for twos. Gibbon came back to improve his figures of one over for 18 in the 26th, and in just his second over back should have had Goldsworthy out for 45, Azhar Ali dropping him two-handed at head height at extra cover.
Whilst it maybe costly for poor Gibbon’s personal confidence, it was not too costly for the Rapids as the Cornishman made just two more before D’Oliveira had him caught behind for 47. 147-3. Two no balls for fielding restriction violations, a rarity in 50 over cricket, summed up the deflated nature of the Rapids’ body language ever since the wayward start to this innings. You would not think they currently sit top of the table from their demeanours. (Worcestershire had won two from two this week before today.) Gibbons did also bowl a no-ball allowing a Sean Dickson six over long on from the free hit, but brought his economy rate down to 7.4 after five overs. Rew slog swept ‘Dolly’ in the 35th over to reach his 50 off 52 balls with four fours and one six.
Somerset’s best partnership coming from their skipper and vice putting on 96 for the fourth wicket. Dickson was caught at third for 37 off 40 balls, George Bartlett’s talents arguably wasted not coming in until just over eight overs remaining. The strength in depth saw test and ODI centurion Curtis Campher come in at seven the next over as Baker bowled Bartlett for two. Campher made just six as Gibbon came back well, earning a test scalp from the River End. 263-6 in the 46th.
A second list-A hundred for Rew came with a one-bounce four down the ground off Gibbon, but he was out in the same over, finding Kashif Ali at deep square for 101 off 93 balls.
Kashif Ali provided the fielding moment of the day, catching, losing his balance, flicking the ball in the air, stepping over the rope, then back on again catching a firmly struck Danny Lamb (six) pull.
Somerset finished 287-9, extras totalling 27, as their middle and lower-order collapse saw no one from five down make double figures. Leonard’s economy rate after two balls was 18, but he fought back sooner than Gibbon did earlier, taking the first two wickets to fall, Azhar Ali playing on for 14 then Brett D’Oliveira caught at deep square leg by Shoaib Bashir for 19.
Kashif Ali flicked off his pads for four first ball and off just his sixth ball careered down the wicket and plonked Lamb for six. He looked a class act, just as Hamza Shaikh did for his 38 for Warwickshire on Friday. Lancashire loanee Lamb, who had come on first change, got the Pears’ Cornish skipper Jake Libby caught behind for 14.
Goldsworthy’s superb swoop and throw from midwicket ran out Rob Jones for 41, 114-4. Kash got a life on 33 as Brooks dropped an easy catch at mid on off Lamb in the 27th. Jack showed he can catch off his own bowling next over though, getting the same man for 37, one shy of that similarly impressive Shaikh innings on Friday evening. But this wicket exposed Joe Leach and the inexperienced Pears tail early, could one of them stay with Ben Cox to steer Worc’ towards a now seemingly unlikely victory from 159-5.
Five fours were the only boundaries needed for Cox to get to 50 off 56 balls, showing how well he rotated the strike-a crucial component of a 50-over innings-particularly in the middle-overs. The 50-partnership came in the 39th over and was greeted by Leach bopping Bashir into the glass panel of the Colin Atkinson Pavilion-two along from the one Jamie Overton smashed in the Championship last week.
Worcestershire looked to be cruising to victory needing just 56 off the final 10, and just as the umpire finished his apparent warming up to bowl (signalling the third powerplay-five allowed outside the 30-yeard circle) Campher got the breakthrough. Cox top-edged a pull shot to Goldsworthy at midwicket. Baker then drove straight to Bashir at short extra cover, then Goldsworthy had Leach lbw for 41, three wickets in seven balls with Worcestershire on 232.
Campher wrapped the game up by having debutant Cam Jones caught by Bashir (his third catch of the match) at short midwicket first ball.