Gloucestershire beat Worcestersire by 12 runs
When they reflect on this defeat, in their first match in the Natwest Pro40, Worcestershire will rue the opportunities they squandered to land an early blow on their local rivals.
They had their guests' backs to the walls with bat and ball but lacked the depth in bowling and presence of mind to turn their early advantage into a successful run-chase.
Gloucestershire were 33 for three in the eighth over as Zaheer Khan and Kabir Ali threatened to rip through the visitors' line-up only for that momentum to dissipate.
The Gladiators compiled two big stands with their next two partnerships to set a total of 245 that was probably 20 runs too many.
Man-of-the-match Chris Taylor equalled his best oneday score of 93 and, with Alex Gidman and Steve Adshead, rescued his side from a parlous position with stands of 71 and 106 respectively.
But even then the Royals looked as though they might reach their total as Lou Vincent laid into the Gloucester-shire attack and scored a rapid 56 before being given out leg-before despite getting a clear inside edge on a delivery from Ian Harvey.
At that stage Vikram Solanki's team were 81 for none but the Australian slowed their progress with a tight spell of 4-0-9-2.
Having lost the toss, the hosts made an excellent start with a wicket in the third over as Zaheer Khan pitched up and found the thinnest edge of Harvey's bat to give Steve Davies the first of his three catches.
The wicketkeeper also snaffled Hamish Marshall four overs later as the right-hander got caught between pulling and defending a short one from Kabir Ali. In the end he did neither.
Kabir, in his next over, induced an uppish drive from Craig Spearman and had the New Zealander taken at midoff by Solanki for 12. At 33 for three the door was more than ajar.
But Gidman and Taylor not only steadied the ship, they hoisted the spinnaker and sailed off into the sunset. They had regular provisions supplied by Roger Sillence as, in only his second over, both Gladiators sent him to the rope, Taylor with a deliciously wristy cut and Gidman with an off drive. When the fielding restrictions had been lifted the visitors were a much healthier 77 for three.
The hundred came up as Taylor swept Gareth Batty for four a couple of balls short of midway in the innings.
Gidman was out soon after, however, mistiming a sweep to the spinner to give Davies another dolly. Then the real carnage began.
Taylor and Adshead tucked in, the former's half-century coming off 53 balls with seven fours, the latter's from 38 with three fours and two sixes. They were particularly brutal with former team-mate Sillence who conceded 63 from seven overs including 17 in his penultimate effort.
Taylor was out in the 39th over to a decent sliding catch on the mid-wicket boundary by Ben Smith.
In response Vincent and Stephen Moore made batting look equally easy as they spanked 11 off Carl Green-idge's opening over. The composed Vincent drove the home team forward at seven an over, his 50 taking a mere 34 balls, with eight fours and a huge six off James Averis over long on.
When Vincent was cut off in his prime the innings lost momentum. Harvey and Ball exerted a stranglehold on proceedings and the Royals steadily slipped behind the required run rate.
Although Smith led something of a rearguard action, aided and abetted by Zaheer, Kabir and Sillence, the task had become too great for the tail.