Worcestershire Under-17s just missed out on qualifying for the knockout stages of the Royal London County Cup.

The County finished second in their group just one point behind Hampshire who went through to the last four.

Worcestershire completed their programme by the end of May after winning three of their four matches.

But they then had to wait and see how Hampshire fared in their remaining two matches in mid to late June.

The first of those fixtures against Gloucestershire was a wash-out but victory by 186 runs versus Devon in their final fixture ensured they overhauled Worcestershire.

Worcestershire defeated Somerset by 145 runs, Gloucestershire by eight wickets and Devon by seven wickets before losing the final game – and effectively the group decider – to Hampshire by nine wickets.

Here Worcestershire Academy Coach Elliot Wilson reflects on the 2019 campaign in the 50 over competition.

He said: “It was a really enjoyable week of cricket. There was a disappointing final day against Hampshire but overall the ideas for the week, what we wanted to try and do, worked out really well – starting with the idea of playing four games in a block.

“It enabled us to get some good availability of players. We played more of the ‘right’ players that we would want to see feature in those games and we saw some really strong performances throughout the week.

“Against Somerset at RGS Worcester, we started off the week very strongly. We were keen to play Ollie Walker and Rehan Edavaleth as under-age players in Under-17 cricket.

“One of them is Under-14 and one Under-15 so it was a real challenge for them. But the pair of them stood up really well and we produced a lot of good cricket in and some outstanding individual performances.

“Dan Holland with 130 played really well and looked back to the player he was at the end of last summer, having had a challenging start to the year and a couple of tours with school and with our Under-17s pre-season wise when things hadn’t gone to plan.

“He was well supported by Ollie Walker who on his Under-17s debut as an Under-14 was outstanding really. He played magnificently well.

“Peter Clark then benefited from a little bit of poor batting by Somerset but it was great to see him back playing cricket after a month off with a shoulder injury.

“Against Gloucestershire at Rockhampton, I would say this was the best game of cricket of the week. The two sides were even in their ability and it was a real good contest.

“We played smart, sensible cricket and ultimately did a few of the simple things better than they did. Nothing revolutionary. Rockhampton is a great place to play Under-17s cricket. The surface was good, the outfield was good.

“We ended up having to try and knock off 260 and you’d say that Under-17s side would not chase down scores of 250 plus regularly and we did it really well.

“Peter Clark and Rehan Edavaleth set it up really well with a large opening partnership. Peter got out for 70, allowing Dan Holland to get to the crease and Rehaan’s 100 was impressive for so many reasons.

“Just the way he scored his runs and the skills and options he had was exciting for everyone to watch. Dan’s 37 not out at the end of innings took the pressure off Rehan and allowed him to carry on what he was doing.

“Matt Davis played his first game back for Worcestershire after his injuries at the start of the season and looked like he had made some real progress on the back of a real good winter’s work again.

“I shouldn’t be surprised because the kid is an absolute belter in terms of his work ethic and commitment to cricket.

“I’m really excited for him once he has finished his exams to get his teeth into some second team cricket (he played against Derbyshire at Halesowen) and see what he can do in the red and white ball game.

“He had a bit of a back spasm where he just couldn’t get his back to settle down but he’s fine now. He played two out of the four games and at Rockhampton we saw the benefits of the work he had been doing during the winter.

“We had done something quite intentionally with him technically and he has really brought that to the party already this summer.

“Against Devon at RGS Worcester, it was a difficult day because of the weather interfering in the game and that can mean you take your eye off the ball. But, in a 37 over game, but we were on it from the first ball.

“A lovely opening partnership bowling wise by George Marshall and Luke Tulacz reduced Devon to 50-5 and from there it was always going to be hard for them to get back into the game.

“Alex Hinkley showed why he was given the opportunity to play in the second team the week before with a very accomplished innings with a wonderful range of shots. He played very positively without being reckless and scored a half century.

“He was well supported by Joe Miszkowski who, like Dan Holland the day before, scored 40 not out and supported Alex really well.”

As regards the final fixture – and fourth in five days – against Hampshire, Wilson said: “Hampshire and ourselves looked this year to be the strongest teams in the group.

“We always knew we were going to be a little bit light for that game. You can’t ask lads to play all four games and all their club cricket as well. We had to rotate the group and over the four games we saw 22 players which is great.

“We were just a bit light and unbalanced and came up against a couple of bowlers who got it right for them and we had no way of putting any pressure on Hampshire and they were by far the better side on the day.

“Overall, it was nice to win three out of four, good for everyone’s confidence. You set your benchmark against the best side you play against – and the game versus Hampshire told us a lot about where the lads were.

“We’ve got some good cricketers who played really well during the week but for lots of reasons, when we played against Hampshire we came unstuck.

“But to win three out of four was a really positive step for me in terms of why we chose to play four games in five days.”

FINAL TABLE

Hants Played 4, Won 3, Lost 0, Cancelled 1, Abandoned 0, Points 13, Run Rate 4.07

WORCS 4, 3, 1, 0, 0, 12, 0.53

Gloucs 4, 1, 1, 1, 1, 6, 0.51

Devon 4, 1, 2, 0, 1, 5, -1.22

Som 4, 0, 4, 0, 0, 0, -2.34