Worcestershire Royals suffered a seven wicket defeat against the Gloucestershire Gladiators in the Friends Life t20 at Bristol.
The Royals won the toss and chose to bat and they suffered an early blow when Moeen Ali was bowled by Ian Saxelby in the second ball of the match for 4. After a second wicket partnership of 35 Phil Hughes was out when he drove straight to Hamish Marshall at mid-on off Liam Norwell for 8 and when Vikram Solanki was caught by Marshall at extra cover off Ed Young for 22 the Royals were 65-3 in the 11th over.
James Cameron and Gareth Andrew also added 35, for the fourth wicket, until Cameron was caught at third man by Ed Cowan off James Fuller for 32 off 32 balls, with the score on 100-4 in the 16th over. Then Andrew and Daryl Mitchell accelerated as they put on 39, in less than 3 overs, until Mitchell was out for 31 off just 13 balls, with 6 fours, and although Andrew went in the penultimate ball of the innings for 43 off 26 balls, with 4 fours and 2 sixes, the Royals completed their 20 overs on 159-6, with Alexei Kervezee unbeaten on 2 and Ben Scott unbeaten on 0.
The Gladiators response started badly when, with the score on 1, Benny Howell was caught behind by Scott off Jack Shantry (1-23) for a first ball duck but then Marshall, who was dropped by Cameron on 14, and Cowan both took command as they put on 143 for the second wicket. Marshall, who struck 6 fours and 1 six, was bowled by Mitchell (2-26) for 72 off 49 balls and Cowan departed in similar fashion for 70 off 48 balls, with 9 fours and 1 six, but by then it was all too late for the Royals as the Gladiators got to their target, ending up on 160-3, with 2 overs to spare.
With all teams having played 8 matches Worcestershire Royals are still top of the Midlands, Wales and West group on 10 points, ahead of both Somerset and Warwickshire Bears on run-rate, with Gloucestershire Gladiators on 9 points.
The Royals next match is on Friday when they entertain Northamptonshire Steelbacks at New Road.
Director of cricket Steve Rhodes spoke to BBC Hereford & Worcester's Dave Bradley after their seven wicket defeat at Bristol;
To listen to the interview please click here