Warwickshire lost to Northamptonshire by four wickets
Warwickshire squandered the chance to go joint top of the Pro-40 table as they slipped to defeat against Northamptonshire.
The hosts conceded 47 in the final four overs as a match that they appeared to have in their grasp was stolen by Rob White (24 deliveries) and Lance Klusener (15 deliveries) who added 48 in six damaging overs.
Despite Northants being obliged to bat in desperately gloomy conditions, their batsmen were able take full toll of some loose bowling, as Warwickshire struggled to grip the slippery ball.
Klusener signalled the charge by driving Alex Loudon into the pavilion for six, before White drove a Heath Streak full toss for four and cut a Neil Carter long-hop for another.
Warwickshire will reflect that the seven wides (four from the captain) and four byes they conceded could well have made all the difference.
The news was not good off the pitch, either. Jimmy Anyon was forced to pull out of the match after injuring his back in the warm-up and is a grave doubt for the Championship game in Southampton. His condition will be assessed today.
The match was not a complete disaster for Warwickshire, however. On a day when an illustrious array of former players were invited back to the club, it was two young men who could have large roles in the future who impressed.
Graceful batting from Moeen Ali and an impressive spell of bowling from Adam Shantry appeared to have put their side well on the road to victory and does bode well in the longer term.
This may prove to be a very important innings from Moeen. Not only will it have convinced the coach to persevere with the 19-year-old in the one-day side, but it may help persuade the young man that opportunity knocks if he remains at the club next season.
Just as impressive as the strokes Moeen played - and some of them were very impressive indeed - was the patience he showed early in his innings.
On another slow surface, once again held together by a coating of glue, his colleagues found scoring hard work and when Nick Knight departed in the tenth over, there were just 21 runs on the board.
A frustrated Navdeep Poonia (15 balls) mis-cued a pull to mid on before Nick Knight, attempting a sharp single, was run out by the bowler, Ben Phillips, who deftly flicked the ball behind him as he ran towards mid off.
Moeen and Jonathan Trott added 97 in 16 overs. Moeen (61 balls, seven fours and a six) seems to possess all the shots and had all the time in the world to play them as he reached what will prove to be the first of many List A half-centuries.
He pulled, flicked and drove with elan, as well as lifting Steven Crook for six into the pavilion. Though he departed, caught at extra cover as he attempted to loft over the infield, he had shown enough in his first major innings at Edgbaston to show why the club are fighting to retain his service.
He has a golden future, for sure, but for which team he scores his runs remains unknown.
Trott (56 balls, four boundaries) was less fluent, but provided solid support and was poised to lead the acceleration when rain reduced the game by 12 overs a side.
Although Usman Afzaal prospered in Northants' reply, fine bowling from Shantry and Paul Harris seemed to have put Warwickshire on top.
A month ago, Shantry's future at Edgbaston looked bleak. Now, however, after impressing against West Indies A and in this game, he looks sure to win a one-year contract offer.
Although the wicket of Crook, caught on the long-on boundary, will not give him huge satisfaction, the scalps of Chris Rogers and David Sales certainly should. Rogers, trying to play across his pads, was beaten by one that held its own, while Sales played on to another that hinted at swinging back.
Shantry, who endured two frustrating seasons at Northants, couldn't resist giving his former captain something of a send-off; not perhaps pretty, but an interesting insight into the fighting spirit of a young bowler of character and skill.
In the end Klusener's experience and White's clean-hitting proved the difference. But two Warwickshire youngsters provided the best batting and bowling performances of the day and the side's embattled coach, Mark Greatbatch, can at least point to their emergence as a sign that progress is being made.