Tom Fell’s first century since his recovery from cancer kept alive Worcestershire Rapids’ chances of a quarter-final place in the Royal London One-Day Cup with a four-wicket victory over Lancashire Lightning at New Road
Fell made 116 not out, his highest List A score, as the Rapids successfully chased 268 with 14 balls to spare and in the process killed off their opponents’ hopes of going through to the knock-out stage.
Worcestershire now have to win their final group game against Nottinghamshire Outlaws at Trent Bridge on Monday and look for favourable results elsewhere.
For Fell, it was an emotional milestone in his eighth innings since returning to the county side a month ago.
Having completed two 50s in that time, he moved up a gear in an innings of high quality on a pitch where Lancashire found it difficult to dictate to spinners or the slower-paced seam bowlers.
Going in as early as the fourth over, when Daryl Mitchell was caught behind off Saqib Mahmood, Fell was into his stride in a partnership of 58 with Tom Kohler-Cadmore, who got to 30 before he was caught at cover off Tom Smith.
Worcestershire had a wobble in six balls from Stephen Parry. Joe Clarke was caught low down at short extra cover for 25 and Brett D’Oliveira was stumped after charging the left-arm spinner.
Ross Whiteley then restored stability with 38 out of 83, and although he was bowled by a quicker ball by Steven Croft, the crowd was ready and waiting for a standing ovation when Fell reached three figures in 104 balls by cutting Parry for his 14th four.
The 22-year-old collected one more boundary and could afford to take a back seat as Ben Cox powered Worcestershire towards their target with 31 from 25 balls.
In making 267 for seven, Lancashire owed much to their captain as Croft featured in two significant partnerships.
Leg-spinner D’Oliveira bowled 10 overs for 27 runs and at the same time medium-pacer Mitchell delivered his first full ration in white ball competitions this season.
The home skipper finished with one for 41, his wicket an important one when the dangerous Karl Brown was out for 43, giving wicketkeeper Cox his third catch of the innings.
At that stage Lancashire were beginning to repair early damage caused by Kyle Abbott’s most effective contribution in Worcestershire’s overseas position.
The powerfully-built South African emerged from a sharp opening spell with two for 24 from six overs. Smith was first to go, mishitting to mid-off, and Alviro Petersen went for 32, a first victim for Cox.
Off-spinner George Rhodes accounted for Liam Livingstone (18) with assistance from Cox. This brought in Croft to make 33 out of 64 with Brown before adding 99 in 14 overs with Luke Procter.
Croft made 78 from 105 balls, hitting a six and six fours before falling to Ed Barnard when he was brilliantly caught by Whiteley, running in from deep mid-wicket.
Joe Leach, at short fine leg, hardly had to move to hold Procter’s mistimed ramp shot on the return of Abbott (three for 56). The left-hander made 47 at almost a run a ball.
Lancashire have confirmed they are releasing Luis Reece, Gavin Griffiths and George Edwards.
They will not be offered new deals following the expiration of their current contracts.
Lancashire coach Ashley Giles said: ‘We would like to thank Luis, Gavin and George for their contributions to Lancashire County Cricket Club.
“We wish them every success with their future endeavours.”