FP TROPHY (at Taunton): Somerset 278-9 (J L Langer 117, I D Blackwell 53) v Worcestershire 194 (D K H Mitchell 92). Somerset beat Worcestershire by 84 runs.
Some wasteful batting and a brilliant cameo appearance from Worcestershire reject Peter Trego were key factors in the Royals' comprehensive defeat to Somerset Sabres in the Friends Provident Trophy at Taunton yesterday.
As a result, the teams swapped second and third place in the South/West Division, which is a situation that could be repaired by Steve Rhodes's side if they can beat Hampshire Hawks at the Rose Bowl tomorrow.
For that to happen Worcestershire will have to play much better than they did here.
The game was taken away from them by an all-rounder they could have signed a few seasons ago, who first hurt them with the bat before adding even more pain with the ball.
His contribution will rightly be overshadowed by the sustained excellence of Justin Langer, the Somerset captain, whose 117 not only rescued and rebuilt a stuttering innings but helped the Sabres to a competitive total.
However, Trego's involvement was equally vital in terms of its timing.
His morale-boosting 31 from 16 balls at the death provided some much needed momentum to an average batting display before his three breakthroughs with the ball stopped Worcestershire's reply in its tracks before trampling all over any shoots of recovery.
All this from a player who was not wanted at New Road after 2004 when he played alongside Steven Davies and Daryl Mitchell in the Second XI.
He was clearly keen to make a point. Worcestershire were in a decent position at the half-way stage but some loose batting from Davies, Vikram Solanki and, uncharacteristically, Graeme Hick, undermined a solid enough 50 overs in the field.
For once Solanki's luck was in at the toss and, after putting Somerset's estimable batting line-up in, to restrict them to 278 for nine represented a decent effort, especially given the expensive figures from Mitchell and Richard Jones, who bowled one over for 14 and batted No 11.
The home side's total was more than they could have hoped for after being reduced to 32 for three but it was by no means exceptional given the helpful batting conditions.
However, at 46 for four after 15 overs of the reply any hope the visitors had of achieving their target had gone.
The efforts of Ben Smith (39, 61 balls and three fours) and Daryl Mitchell (92, 93 balls, ten fours) added a degree of respectability but they were so hamstrung by their top order counterparts they could never hope to turn the innings around.
One piece of good news for Worcestershire was the return of Kabir Ali, who made his comeback from the hamstring injury sustained in the championship against Northamptonshire and showed no ill-effects from his two weeks' rehabilitation.
He bowled much better than his figures suggest and he was well supported, as ever, by Steve Magoffin who once again emerged with creditable statistics of three for 36. Simon Jones was rested.
Marcus Trescothick lasted only three balls before Kabir bowled him with a vicious in-swinger while Magoffin, after his first over went for 14, recovered well to pick up Craig Kieswetter caught behind.
Both dismissals were overshadowed by the way James Hildreth's short stay came to end, courtesy of the most sublime catch at cover point from Solanki, diving low to his left.
All was well.
But through Somerset skipper Langer and Ian Blackwell the Sabres' fightback began.
They put on 114 for the fourth wicket before the former England one-day international (53, 63 balls, two fours, two sixes) was bowled by Magoffin swiping hideously across the line.
Langer (117, 131 balls, 11 fours, three sixes) remained to record his third century in all competitions this season before part-time trundler Mitchell, who had been gently milked prior to being carted by the Australian, fortuitously claimed his wicket when Hick saved another six by catching him at deep mid-off.
A sensible 36 from Zander De Bruyn and then Trego's fine display of hitting added a last hurrah to a Sabres total - one that looked decent but not daunting.
In the end it proved far too good for the visitors.
Worcestershire's chase faltered from the start and, despite Smith and Mitchell's defiant stand of 78 for the fourth wicket, were always second best.
Opener Steven Davies's dismissal set the tone when he clipped one loosely to square leg.
Solanki pulled a Trego long hop to the same position not long afterwards and No3 Moeen, who has scored just 64 runs in five innings in this competition, nicked one to Kieswetter, again off Trego.
Hick was next to go, bottom-edging a wide one from Charl Willoughby which would probably have been called wide had he left it.
After Smith went - and all hope - the end was mercifully swift.
A triple-wicket maiden from Steffan Jones dislodged Batty for five, Kabir first ball and former Somerset all-rounder Gareth Andrew to rip out the lower middle order before the loose ends were tied up