Sussex young guns beat Worcestershire in Royal London Cup
Sussex Sharks are celebrating their first win in the Royal London Cup.
Three of their young players, spin duo James Coles and Archie Lenham plus centurion Ali Orr, played key roles in a tense two wicket success over Worcestershire Rapids at New Road.
Coles and Lenham, both aged 17, picked up three wickets apiece as Worcestershire were restricted to 233-9 after opting to bat on a used pitch.
Then Orr, 22, followed up his maiden County Championship century against Kent last month with a superb hundred in only his third List A innings.
He paced his knock perfectly, taking 93 balls to reach his fifty but only another 35 to get to three figures with four sixes and six.
Sussex were cruising at 160-1 but a late collapse meant they still needed seven from the final over but Travis Head, with 38 not out, settled matters by smashing the third ball from Josh Baker for six over long on.
A third successive defeat was a blow to the Rapids hopes of reaching the knockout stages after winning the opening three games.
They were on the back foot after Brett D’Oliveira (11) was run out by Sussex skipper Tom Haines direct hit at the non striker’s from widish mid-on.
Jack Haynes on 24 was caught behind in Coles’ first over and then Lenham came into the attack and struck in each of his first three overs.
Tom Fell (29) was bowled by a fine delivery before Lenham held onto a return catch from Gareth Roderick (0) while Ed Barnard (7) dragged a ball onto his stumps.
Coles turned the screwand Joe Leach, 12, was lbw after sweeping and in his next over Libby, having made 40 off 58 balls, was also trapped in front after working to leg.
Worcestershire were then 137-7 in the 34th over and the combined efforts of spinners Coles, Lenham and Will Beer produced figures of 30-0-110-6.
Jacques Banton, younger brother of England ODI and T2OI player Tom Banton, showed his potential as part of a fightback with the lower order.
He struck Lenham for a straight six in his final over and was given good support by Josh Baker in a partnership of 40.
Baker (16) holed out to wide long off against Crocombe but Banton went onto make 33 from 41 balls before he was caught behind from a leading edge.
The last wicket pair of Charlie Morris and Adam Finch gave the innings more momentum with an unbroken partnership of 39 in 3.5 overs.
Morris made the first breakthrough when Ben Brown (20) was caught and bowled with 33 on the board in the seventh over.
But Ali Orr and Haines batted sensibly during a second wicket partnership of 127 in 27.1 overs.
They were seldom troubled and accumulated effectively before Haines (46) attempted to lap Baker and was caught at short third man.
Orr accelerated and smashed Baker over mid wicket for his fourth six to reach his hundred out of 174-2 before he became one of two wickets to fall in Jacques Banton’s first over.
Orr (108) found the safe hands of Morris at long off and in the same over Coles (2) was taken by D’Oliveira at cover.
It became 195-5 when Oli Carter (6) perished at long-off against D’Oliveira and then Danial Ibrahim (1) went lbw to Banton with two runs added.
Will Beer, on 8, went lbw to Barnard and seven were needed from the final over by Baker and, although Lenham (1) fell to the first ball, Head had the final say.
Head said: “I think we got what we deserved. I think we played exceptionally well. I think we bowled well and fielded well and, for 90 per cent of the time, we batted really well. There are a lot of positives to take out the game and it was a quality innings from Ali Orr (to score his maiden List A century).
“The wicket was very difficult so to show that composure, especially through his middle to late part of his innings, was excellent. He showed a lot of talent today, and has done all season, a great temperament, bats in the nets for ages, has got a great work ethic as well. A lot of great signs and he has played an exceptional innings today and that partnership with Tom (Haines) was just what we needed.”