Royals lose despite Hick heroics
Gloucestershire overcame a vintage innings by Graeme Hick to take over at the top of their zonal group in the Twenty20 Cup with a 24-run victory over Worcestershire at New Road.
Hick hit five sixes and seven fours in making 75 from 34 balls, but the chase petered out when the 40-year-old former England batsman fell to a stunning one-handed catch by Craig Spearman at long on.
A booming drive off Mark Hardinges looked set to clear the fence but the New Zealander stretched backwards to complete a remarkable dismissal.
Spearman then became the target for some uncharitable barracking by the home crowd as Gloucestershire's total of 203 for seven slipped out of reach.
Having lost Lou Vincent and Vikram Solanki in Carl Greenidge's opening spell, Worcestershire did well to get up to 127 before Hick was fourth out.
Despite useful efforts from Ben Smith (24), Steve Davies (27) and Stephen Moore (25), they closed on 179 for seven, going down to a fifth consecutive defeat.
After overnight storms, which flooded many homes in Worcester, the New Road staff got the ground fit for a start 15 minutes behind schedule.
With the match reduced by only one over per side, the only other concession to the conditions was to bring in the boundary rope to a minimum distance.
Gloucestershire, put in to bat after losing the toss, immediately profited with 22 fours and nine sixes in the second highest score made against Worcestershire in the competition.
Ian Harvey set the tempo with 56 from 37 balls until he was caught at short fine leg, sweeping at Gareth Batty, and most the of the top order perished trying to clear the inner ring.
The exception was Chris Taylor, fending off a surprise lifter from Kabir Ali.
At 114 for six, the Gloucestershire innings might have folded, but Jon Lewis smashed a quickfire 23 and when he was brilliantly caught and bowled by Ray Price (two for 29), Gloucestershire enjoyed a final flourish with 47 from the last 22 balls.
Steve Adshead (38 not out) and Martyn Ball (27 not out) each hit two sixes and Kabir was unable to complete the last over when a fierce drive from Ball smashed into his left foot.