Friends Provident Trophy (at Edgbaston): Warwickshire 232-8 (I J L Trott 120 no) v Northamptonshire 236-5 (S D Peters 97 no, M H Wessels 78) Northamptonshire beat Warwickshire by 5 wickets.
On the face of things, this might seem to have been just another grim day in the tragic drama that is Warwickshire's limited-overs cricket.
Certainly many aspects of this game were quite dismal from a Warwickshire perspective.
The top-order batting was feeble; the ease with which Northants' fifth-wicket pair milked the bowling was painful and the electronic scoreboard, for so long an embarrassment to a club that talks a good game, again failed on a day when the unforgiving eye of the Sky cameras was present.
It will also now take a miracle of biblical proportions for Warwickshire to progress in this competition.
Sounds unremittingly awful, doesn't it? And yet, scratch beneath the surface, and there were a couple of encouraging signs at Edgbaston.
Not only did Jonathan Trott produce an innings of character and skill to prevent a complete rout, but Neil Carter also produced a hostile spell of bowling that, had he found better support from his colleagues, might have proved decisive.
But perhaps most encouraging was the performance of two young men. While Northants stacked their team with foreign imports (six of their 11 were of South African heritage), Warwickshire blooded two home-grown teenagers and were rewarded with performances hinting at brighter times ahead.
Warwickshire have tried many young wicketkeepers in recent years. None of them have hinted at permanency. But Richard Johnson (23 balls, three fours), a 19-year-old, showed with bat and gloves that he might, just might, have a future at this level.
First he helped Trott add 52 for the seventh wicket, demonstrating a cool head and a couple of pleasing strokes, before producing a confi-dent display with the gloves. One take, off a leg side wide from Daggett while standing up to the stumps, was outstanding and something of which Keith Piper, Johnson's mentor, would have been proud.
It should be noted that he would not have played had Tony Frost not been suffering with a sore back.
Chris Woakes (ten balls, one four) also im-pressed, albeit briefly. He drove one boundary over extra cover off Andrew Hall that hinted at real class while his first spell of bowling was also pleasing.
If such performances seem like small crumbs of comfort it is because they are. But Warwickshire are currently in a deep hole and it is only by long-term thinking that they can turn things around.
There is no quick fix. These young men are the future of Warwickshire cricket and could make a good case to be picked in every form of the game for the rest of the season. The generation above them have, it appears, had their chance and failed.
At least Trott performed well. A couple of weeks ago, after the loss against Northants, he was admonished for his slow scoring. On Sunday he showed why he tends to play with a degree of caution. It is because he can have little confidence in his team-mates. The next highest scorer was just 20.
Captain Darren Maddy reasoned that this was a 300 wicket. Yet minutes into the game Warwickshire were reeling at 22 for three and were forced into a rebuilding process. Carter stepped across his stumps and missed, Maddy edged a perfect delivery that bounced and left him and Ian Westwood, in a horrid run of form, slashed to the keeper with leaden feet.
Though Luke Parker (37 balls, one four) helped Trott add 50 for the fourth wicket in 13 overs, his progress was too sedate to be of much value, while Michael Powell, in trying to run the ball to third man, succeeded only in running it into the keeper's hands. At 88 for five, the game was all but over.
In this form, however, Trott (142 balls, ten fours and a six) resembles Jacques Kallis. His bat is broad and his temperament surprisingly calm and, after surviving a desperately difficult chance to slip on four, he timed this innings intelligently and accelerated perfectly. His first first 50 took 81 balls, his second just 51 and the last 20 runs took only ten deliveries. Without him Warwickshire would have been embarrassed here and at Derby.
Though he took three boundaries in succession off Johan van der Wath's otherwise impressive opening spell, most of Trott's more memorable shots came late in his innings. Twice he clobbered Johan Louw through mid-on for boundaries while his century was brought up with a six that the fielder at long-on helped over the boundary for his only six.
Indeed, Warwickshire plundered 76 off last eight overs and appeared to have given themselves an outside chance of victory. Those chances looked even better when Carter, bowling with pace and hostility, claimed three wickets in four legitimate deliveries to leave Northants in some trouble on 12 for three. When Rob White was well caught by Johnson, standing up to the stumps, Warwickshire were on top.
Yet a stand of 144 in 23 overs between Stephen Peters (132 balls, 11 fours) and Riki Wessels (76 balls, two sixes and six fours) settled matter. With Peters playing the anchor role and Wessels producing the impetus, the pair laid Warwickshire's attack to waste in a clinical display of limited-overs batting.
Maddy looked bereft of options in the field. Monde Zondeki again looked disappointingly anodyne, Daggett struggled with his line and his length and Ant Botha could find none of the assistance that Northants' spinners found in the pitch. There were too many poor balls and, on a perfectly respectable pitch, the margin of error was too small for Warwickshire's bowlers to build any pressure. Defeat came with 27 balls remaining.
* Warwickshire have signed a new sponsorship deal with legal firm Pinsent Masons.