Glamorgan v Essex Eagles
Royal London Cup
Monday 16 August, 11am
Sophia Gardens, Cardiff
Glamorgan: Hamish Rutherford, Nick Selman, Steven Reingold, Kiran Carlson (c), Billy Root, Tom Cullen (wk), Joe Cooke, Andrew Salter, James Weighell, Lukas Carey, Michael Hogan.
Essex Eagles: Alastair Cook, Josh Rymell, Tom Westley (c), Feroze Khushi, Paul Walter, Ryan ten Doeschate, Adam Wheater (wk) Simon Harmer, Aron Nijjar, Jack Plom, Ben Allison.
Umpires: Ian Gould & Michael Burns
Toss: Glamorgan, who elected to field
Result: Glamorgan win by 5 wickets
Scorecard: View Here
Match Reaction: Tom Westley
Essex Eagles fell at the final hurdle in their bid to reach the Royal London Cup Final when Glamorgan won the Semi-Final clash at Sophia Gardens by 5 wickets.
The visitors were bowled out for 289 in 49.4 overs before the Welsh side responded with 293-5 and with 2 overs to spare.
Although the Eagles were given a fine start with a century opening stand between Alastair Cook and Josh Rymell before Paul Walter contributed a half-century, the innings faltered in the latter stages.
The headline performance was provided by Glamorgan all-rounder Joe Cooke who had career-best List A figures with bat and ball of 66 not out and 5/61 that proved the defining contributions.
One-time Essex batsman Hamish Rutherford and Nick Selman posted 95 for the opening wicket before Simon Harmer had Rutherford caught for 67 made from 44 balls.
Kiran Carlson joined Nick Selman in a 56 runs alliance to carry the home side into a strong position before the second wicket fell with the score on 151 in the 24th over. But the Eagles opened the door again for their own chances with a further 3 wickets in 8 overs at a cost of 31 runs, 2 falling to Tom Westley, which included Selman for 51.
With their opponents now 182-5, it was the Eagles that appeared to hold the upper hand but Cooke found a splendid ally in Tom Cullen as the pair pulled their side round.
With 10 overs left, 67 were required and both batsmen selectively clubbed and drove boundaries whilst also scampering and scurrying ones and twos.
The target was down to 26 when Jack Plom bowled the 47th over but that yielded 16 runs as Cooke posted a run-a-ball half-century that included 6 boundaries. The century partnership arrived from 96 balls before Cooke ended the match driving Harmer for successive boundaries including ending the match with a maximum blow to complete a gutsy success.
Both Cook and Walter had proved the main contributors with half-centuries although the Eagles final total was disappointing after they had reached 146 just after the halfway stage of their innings with just one wicket down.
Cook passed 50 for the fourth time in the competition this summer posting 68 from 66 balls that included 11 boundaries, Walter scored 50 and his career-best List A performance whilst young opening partner, Josh Rymell hit 44 in another impressive display.
The Eagles were put into bat and that allowed the master Cook and protégé Rymell to launch the innings in wonderful fashion with the elder statesman proving the more aggressive with a punishing flow of boundaries whilst the emerging young talent was able to provide effective support.
Cook executed a number of trademark cover drives maintaining a run a ball tempo whilst Rymell worked the ball around the field to keep the scoreboard ticking along at an agreeable rate.
The 20-year-old produced the shot of the partnership when driving a ball from the right-arm fast-medium Cooke powerfully through the covers to bring up the 50 stand halfway through the 11th over.
Meanwhile, Cook took every opportunity to punish the bowler when the line strayed including rocking on the back foot to send the ball racing to the ropes.
He brought up his half-century with his tenth boundary having faced 49 balls before the stand was broken when he was stumped off a leg-side wide from Steven Reingold.
Rymell was next to depart caught at backward point to give Cooke the first wicket of a career-best 5/61.
Westley departed for 31 at the end of the 30th over with 162 on the board and Walter joined Feroze Khushi to add 63 in 9 overs to give Eagles hopes of a 300 plus total.
But the innings then faltered with the last 7 wickets tumbling for 64 runs in 10 overs despite the efforts of the excellent Walter.
Khushi exited for 26 to leave the Eagles 225-4 and from there on Glamorgan were galvanised.
Walter though played soundly and showed excellent timing that brought him to his half-century that included 6 boundaries- one a maximum – before he skied a miscued drive to give bowler Lukas Carey a return catch.
However the pairing of bowler Cooke and fielder Reingold, who had teamed up to remove Westley, also accounted for 3 of the last 4 batsmen to fall as the innings declined and that was to prove so costly in the final reckoning.