Royals spoil Steelbacks party
Worcestershire delayed Northamptonshire's move towards the quarter-finals of the Twenty20 Cup with a four-wicket victory at New Road.
The Royals won with seven balls to spare to end a grim run of five Midlands/West/Wales division defeats on the trot.
They were steered to their 161-run target by a crucial unbeaten partnership worth 42 between Moeen Ali (26 not out) and Steve Davies (23 not out).
They went into the match with no hope of reaching the last eight but managed to claw back to winnings ways thanks largely to a fine 51 by man of the match Stephen Moore.
Northants, who won the toss, were restricted to 160 for seven by a Worcestershire attack lacking pacemen Simon Jones (rested) and Steve Magoffin (injured).
Their top scorer with 58 was former Royals all-rounder Andrew Hall who cracked 66 not out and took six for 21 when the Steelbacks beat Worcestershire by 33 runs at Wantage Road 11 days earlier.
His batting contribution was again important particularly as his side had slipped to 31 for three inside the opening four overs with Rob White and David Sales both falling to Jones' replacement Chris Whelan.
Niall O'Brien departed to Kabir Ali before Nicky Boje, going for a big hit, was fourth out when well bowled by spinner Gareth Batty.
Gareth Andrew accounted for Johann Louw who was soon followed by Riki Wessels when caught at mid-wicket by Vikram Solanki off Daryl Mitchell.
Hall was last out after smacking one six and five fours off 51 balls.
The South African put on 55 in seven overs with Lance Klusener who hit an undefeated 41 which contained two sixes and five fours off 21 deliveries.
Worcestershire's hopes of building a solid launchpad to their victory chase soon evaporated when openers Graeme Hick and Solanki both fell cheaply.
Veteran Hick was smartly caught low down at first slip by Hall off Johann van der Wath before skipper Solanki surrendered to an easy catch at mid-off by Boje off Hall.
Their exits set the scene for a 51-run partnership in five overs between Moore and Kabir, whose hard-hitting efforts ended when he hoisted a boundary catch to Wessels off spinner Jason Brown for 28 containing one six and three fours off 17 balls.
Ben Smith managed only eight before he was ousted by a brilliant diving catch by Steven Crook off Boje.
Moore continued to prosper and reached his half-century off 35 balls with one six and four fours. The next delivery, however, resulted in him being bowled by Boje.
Batty was run out without scoring before Ali and Davies guided their side to their second win of the campaign.