Worcestershire Royals were beaten by 4 wickets against the Gloucestershire Gladiators in their Clydesdale Bank 40 match at Cheltenham College.
The Gladiators won the toss and put the Royals into bat and, with the first ball of the match, Moeen Ali (0) was out when he edged behind to Jonathan Batty off Ian Saxelby. Vikram Solanki (13) was the second wicket to fall, with the score on 17 in the 8th over, when he was caught by James Fuller at mid-on off Liam Norwell and Norwell took his second wicket, in his next over, when James Cameron (0) edged behind to Batty to leave the Royals struggling on 21-3 after 10 overs.
Phil Hughes and Daryl Mitchell put on 27 for the fourth wicket until Mitchell chipped an Alex Gidman delivery straight to Hamish Marshall at short mid-on for 11, with the score on 48-4 after 15 overs. Hughes and Neil Pinner, who was dropped twice at cover, added 37 for the fifth wicket until Pinner edged behind to Batty off Gidman for 20 and then Gidman (3-20 off 8 overs) took his third wicket when Gareth Andrew (1) drove straight to Marshall at extra cover, with the score on 89-6 off 29 overs.
Hughes played steadily as he reached his 50 off 93 balls, with 4 fours, but he was running out of partners and Ben Scott was the seventh wicket to fall when he was bowled by Saxelby for 14, with the score on 124 in the 37th over. Hughes was dropped at backward point by Ed Young on 58 towards the end as he eventually ended up unbeaten on 64 off 108 balls, with 5 fours, and with Brett D’Oliveira also unbeaten on 12 the Royals completed their 40 overs on 144-7.
In reply the Gladiators started positively as Marshall and Ed Cowan made an opening stand of 51 until, in the 8th over, Marshall holed out to Hughes at deep square-leg off Andrew (1-7 off 2 overs), for 26. Then in the next over Ali struck twice, in his first over, when Benny Howell (0) was caught by Jack Shantry at mid-on and, 3 balls later, Dan Housego (0) was caught by Solanki at silly point to leave the Gladiators on 52-3.
Cowan had got to 29 until he was brilliantly caught by a diving Pinner at short cover off Ali (3-33 off 8 overs), with the score on 63 in the 13th over, and then D’Oliveira got in on the act when Ian Cockbain edged to Mitchell at first slip for 7 to leave the Gladiators on 81-5 in the 18th over. But Gidman and Young’s sixth wicket partnership of 47, despite the wicket turning sharply, proved to be critical and although Young was trapped lbw off D’Oliveira (2-35 off 8 overs), for 28, with the score on 128 in the 24th over, the Gladiators got home with 12.5 overs to spare, as they ended up on 145-6, with Gidman unbeaten on 33 and Fuller unbeaten on 8.
Worcestershire's director of cricket Steve Rhodes spoke to BBC Hereford & Worcester's Trevor Owens after their 4 wicket defeat at Cheltenham College;
To listen to the interview please click here