George Hill’s stunning maiden List A century plus a key all-round contribution from Matthew Waite ensured an entertaining Royal London Cup win by four wickets over Worcestershire at Scarborough today.
Hill’s 130 off 131 balls led a pursuit of 247 after the county had slipped to 37-3, while Waite contributed 3-21 from eight overs and later an important 36 as the win was achieved with 16 balls to spare.
This was Yorkshire’s second win in three Group B fixtures, putting them firmly in contention for a top three finish and knockout qualification after the eight-game group phase.
Ben Coad also returned an important 1-29 from 10 overs, while captain Jonny Tattersall made 45. For Worcestershire, who have now lost all three group games, wicketkeeper Ben Cox stood out with 70 off 46 balls late in their innings of 246-8.
Both sides bowled well on a pitch with extra bounce during a bright East Coast day. Yorkshire, however, held their disciplines for longer.
Until the final throws of the Worcestershire innings, the Vikings hardly gave their visitors any breathing space as wickets fell regularly having elected to bowl.
Waite was excellent against the county he spent a short time on loan with earlier this season, while Coad was once again miserly, as he had been with 1-19 from 10 overs against Lancashire last Thursday.
Forceful Ed Pollock played Waite onto his stumps before Azhar Ali miscued him to mid-off as the score fell to 18-2 in the eighth over.
When Gareth Roderick pulled Tom Loten down deep square-leg’s throat for 29, and Kashif Ali was caught behind cutting at Jack Shutt’s off-spin for 22, the score slipped to 94-4 after 26 overs.
Further success came when Ed Barnard pulled Waite out to deep mid-wicket, where Dom Bess took a smart running catch (119-5 in the 33rd).
Bess was to play a central role in the latter stages of an innings which saw Waite not complete his 10-over allocation and the hosts field much better than they had against Lancashire.
Worcester captain Jake Libby was forced into his shell because of the wickets falling, scoring only two boundaries in an 83-ball half-century achieved just before the 40-over mark (161-5).
Just as Libby was looking to accelerate moments later, his innings of 58 was ended by a top-edged pull behind against the deserving Coad.
However, in many ways, he had done his job, laying the platform for the power players such as Cox and Joe Leach, the pair who took 18 off Loten in the penultimate over of the innings.
Cox has only played two games since mid-June for mental health reasons, though he was the only Worcestershire batter to look completely at ease at the crease as 52 runs came off the last five overs.
The wicketkeeper was powerful and inventive to leg, employing the sweep shot with great success.
He reached his second successive RL50 half-century off 38 balls and hit seven fours and three sixes in all before falling lbw reverse sweeping as the second of two late wickets for Bess.
Like the Rapids had, the Vikings also struggled early on, with their chances of victory undermined by a fall to 37-3 in the 11th over of the chase.
Cox continued his impressive day with two catches behind following Leach’s early capture of Will Fraine lbw.
Will Luxton fell caught behind first ball off the inside edge against Dillon Pennington before Fraine’s opening partner Harry Duke edged behind playing forwards at Adam Finch’s fifth ball.
Though, the pendulum was to swing again through 21-year-old Hill and Tattersall, who were calm yet busy in sharing 87 inside 16 overs for the fourth wicket.
Both played shots of note down the ground and through mid-wicket.
Twenty-one-year-old Hill, having come in at number four with the score 10-2 in the third over, worked well and pulled with venom.
They were the shots with which he reached a 47-ball fifty as back-to-back boundaries came off Barnard – 95-3 in the 19th over.
Hill was handed a life on 53 when Roderick spilled a low chance running in from deep mid-wicket off Leach, only for him to lose Tattersall shortly afterwards.
That extra bounce was evident again as a forcing Tattersall chopped Pennington onto his stumps for 45, Yorkshire now 124-4 in the 27th over.
Thankfully, another partnership was on its way – and this one proved decisive.
Hill and Waite shared 96 in 15 overs, the latter also strong square of the wicket.
He was dropped on 22 at deep mid-wicket, but it mattered little as the victory line neared.
When Hill reached his ton off 96 balls, Yorkshire now 194-4 in the 38th.
And, after celebrating with gusto, he crashed another pull off Leach over long-on for his only six added to 16 fours.
Waite being run out with 27 needed mattered not one jot to the final outcome. It was the same when Hill was caught at long-on off Libby’s spin with six needed.