Royals hold on to secure vital victory
Steve Davies gave National Selector Geoff Miller a reminder of his batting prowess as Worcestershire completed a Twenty20 Cup double over Gloucestershire by 13 runs at Bristol.
Having lost their two previous outings in the Midlands/West/Wales Division after their opening win against the Gladiators, Steve Rhodes’ men bounced back in nail-biting fashion.
Davies and skipper Vikram Solanki piled on 102 in the first 10 overs at Bristol on a sun-kissed evening.
Davies’ half-century came off just 25 balls and he smashed three sixes and four fours before becoming Steve Kirby’s second victim of the 11th over.
Three balls earlier the seamer forced Solanki to play on shortly after he had reached a 33-ball 50.
Moeen Ali and Ashley Noffke quickly followed before Stephen Moore and Ben Smith helped the visitors post a testing score on a good batting wicket at Nevil Road. Smith was particular impressive with 41 off just 20 balls.
The defence of 188-5 got off to a fine start despite Chris Whelan’s first ball being driven for four. The seamer took a fine catch off his own bowling in the first over to remove Grant Hodnett and then wickets fell at regularly after a 94-run stand between Hamish Mar-shall and skipper Alex Gidman.
Solanki took a superb catch to send the dangerous Craig Spearman back to the pavilion before Daryl Mitchell claimed two wickets in two balls to put the Royals in the box seat.
Gladiators needed 31 from the final two overs but, with 19 required from the last, Noffke picked up the wickets of Richard Dawson and Jon Lewis.