The Essex Eagles squandered a good start by Mark Pettini and Alistair Cook after they lost 5 wickets in the space of 33 delivers to hand the advantage to the Hampshire Royals after they reached 156-7.
Having been put into bat by the Royals; Pettini and Cook got the Eagles off to a good start despite the overhead conditions favouring the bowlers.
With Cook out of form Pettini looked to put the pressure on the Royals young bowling attack as he smashed two boundaries off the bowling of Chris Woods at the start of the second over.
After suffering a disappointing Test series against Pakistan; Cook was desperate to play a meaningful innings and although he was almost ran out at the start of the third over he started to play some positive shots.
The England opener; having survived the early scare started to treat the crowd to a display of powerful hitting which included a huge six off Dominic Cork in the 7th over.
With the overhead conditions improving the openers partnership reached 79 before the Royals finally struck to remove Cook after he had started to look comfortable at the crease.
The Eagles opener had reached 38 before he tamely chipped a delivery from Daniel Christian into the hands of Danny Briggs at fine leg.
With Cook gone the Royals looked the increase the pressure by removing Ravi Bopara (2), Ryan ten Doeschate (1) and Pettini (56) in quick succession to leave the Eagles 105-4.
Hired gun Dwayne Bravo (5), who only flew into England this week to play in the Finals Day for the Eagles quickly followed when he was brilliantly run out by Wood to leave the Eagles in disarray.
James Foster hit back with a quick fire 15 from just 11 balls but the Royals held firm to restrict the Eagles to a total of just 156-7.