Cricket / Benson and Hedges Cup final: Smith has extra puff: Warwickshire cruise through to untroubled victory over spluttering Worcestershire

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AS THE tobacco industry comes under increasing pressure of finding ways to publicise its products, the prospect of being banned from television may not be the body blow expected, particularly if yesterday's Benson and Hedges Cup final between Warwickshire and Worcestershire is anything to go by.

In a match where the Worcestershire innings coughed and spluttered like a committed 60-a-day man, even the presence of Brian Lara, who scored only eight, failed to set the match alight and Warwickshire ran out efficient winners for the first time, by six wickets with more than 10 overs to spare.

That they should have done so with considerably more ease than they eventually managed meant that, as local derbies go, this was all Joan, as Worcestershire meekly ran up a score of 170 in their 55 overs.

It was always meant to be an epic battle involving the heavy batting artillery on either side but, true to form for a Lord's final, where the pitch produced too much movement for uninhibited strokeplay, an essentially scruffy game was won by the infantrymen slugging it out at close quarters in the middle. Paul Smith deservedly won the man-of-the-match award for seeing his side home with a aggressive 42 that followed his three for 34 with the ball.

Things started badly for Worcestershire when Tim Munton bowled Adam Seymour in the second over of the day. This brought Hick to the crease, earlier than Worcestershire would have liked, and his now faltering reputation as a big innings player was to be tested once again. His nervous start did little to get his team going.

For this game, Warwickshire managed to get Lara on to the field to do some fielding, and he managed to stay on his little perch at slip even when Gladstone Small found the edge of Tim Curtis's bat, the diving catch being brilliantly taken by the wicketkeeper, Keith Piper. With their two big guns now at the wicket, Worcestershire needed a period of consolidation that did not particularly suit either the aggressive Tom Moody or the becalmed Hick, and the stranglehold was completed when Dermot Reeve decided to bowl Small out, his 11 overs costing a niggardly 26 runs.

However, just as Hick and Moody had seemingly survived the cat-and-mouse opening stages, Paul Smith nipped one back to have Hick lbw for 27. Moody then began to claw his side back into the game and, in league with Gavin Haynes, put on 50 for the fourth wicket either side of lunch.

Soon after the break, things began to go wrong for Worcestershire and they lost their next five wickets for only 26 runs, including Steve Rhodes second ball for nought.

With Haynes falling to the off-spinner Neil Smith, while his namesake, Paul, took two more, any chance of setting Warwickshire a respectable score disappeared completely, as Moody was brilliantly run out. Responding slowly to Richard Illingworth's call for a quick single, Moody was left treading water as Trevor Penney swooped at square cover and, with only one stump to aim at, hit direct with the long-legged Australian well short of the crease.

That a target of any sort was achieved was largely thanks to a hustling stand worth 42 between Illingworth and Neal Radford, though this was soon shown to be hopelessly inadequate as Dominic Ostler and Roger Twose shot their team to 50 in 77 balls, compared with their opponents' 135.

Ostler was in punishing form as he cut, drove and pulled his way to a splendid fifty that included 10 fours, the same amount that Worcestershire managed over the whole of their innings. However, both openers departed soon afterwards, the victims of some poor running between the wickets.

The first of these mistakes did not prove unpopular , and Lara strode to the crease to the largest cheer of the day. But once he had swiftly followed Twose back to the pavilion, a casual flick off his legs finding Hick at midwicket, enough had been done to ensure Warwickshire's first win in this competition was more or less in the bag.

This was confirmed as Paul Smith, powerful in front of the wicket and Asif Din, wristily clipping the ball behind it, put on 44 before the latter was out driving loosely to the off. With Reeve at the crease to oversee victory, Warwickshire can now start counting their chickens. In the cricket trophy stakes, it is very much a case of one down with three to go.

Lord's scoreboard

(Warwickshire won toss)


*T S Curtis c Piper b Small 13 (edged leg cutter; 43 min, 33 balls, 3 fours) A C H Seymour b Munton 3 (bowled playing across the line; 5 min, 3 balls) G A Hick lbw b P A Smith 27 (ball cutting back sharply; 89 min, 80 balls, 3 fours) T M Moody run out (Penney) 47 (brilliant fielding; 130 min, 84 balls, 2 fours) G R Haynes c Piper b N M K Smith 22 (caught behind cutting; 43 min, 47 balls, 1 four) D A Leatherdale c Ostler b P A Smith 4 (caught hooking at fine leg; 17 min, 18 balls) S J Rhodes lbw b Twose 0 (missed ball that nipped back; 3 min, 2 balls) S R Lampitt c Penney b P A Smith 1 (caught off shoulder of bat; 4 min, 7 balls) R K Illingworth lbw b Reeve 18 (playing ugly sweep; 36 min, 26 balls) N V Radford not out 23 (35 min, 30 balls, 1 four) P J Newport not out 1 (2 min, 2 balls) Extras (lb2 w5 nb4) 11 Total (for 9, 212 min, 55 overs) 170

Fall: 1-10 (Seymour), 2-28 (Curtis), 3-55 (Hick), 4-100 (Haynes), 5-124. (Leatherdale), 6-124 (Rhodes), 7-125 (Lampitt), 8-126 (Moody), 9-168 (Illingworth).

Bowling: Small 11-4-26-1 (one spell); Munton 11-3-29-1 (nb2 w1) (9-3-15-1, 2-0-14-0); P A Smith 11-1-34-3 (w1) (7-0-25-1, 4-1-9-2); Reeve 9-1-38-1 (w1) (7-1-24-0, 2-0-14-0); N M K Smith 5-0-16-1 (w1); Twose 8-1-25-1 (w1) (one spell each). Progress: 50: 89 min, 133 balls. Lunch: 95-3 (Moody 28, Haynes 19) 35 overs. 100: 139 min, 221 balls. 150: 196 min, 313 balls.


D P Ostler run out 55 (mix-up with partner; 60 min, 54 balls, 7 fours) R G Twose run out 37 (run out by direct throw from mid-off; 60 min, 42 balls, 2 fours) B C Lara c Hick b Newport 8 (lazy flick off legs; 16 min, 17 balls) P A Smith not out 42 (77 min, 42 balls, 6 fours) Asif Din c Rhodes b Moody 15 (loose drive outside off stump; 39 min, 40 balls, 1 four) *D A Reeve not out 9 (24 min, 24 balls, 2 fours) Extras (lb1, w5) 6 Total (for 4, 174 min, 44.2 overs) 172

Fall: 1-91 (Ostler), 2-98 (Twose), 3-103 (Lara), 4-147 (Asif Din). Did not bat: T L Penney, K J Piper, N M K Smith, G C Small, T A Munton.

Bowling: Moody 11-2-31-1 (7-2-19-0, 4-0-12-1); Newport 8-0-29-1 (w2) (2-0-7-0, 6-0-22-1); Lampitt 9.2-1-38-0 (4-0-25-0, 5.2-1-13-0); Illingworth 6-0-22-0 (4-0-16-0, 2-0-6-0); Radford 8-0- 39-0 (w3) (4-0-16-0, 2-0-5-0, 2-0-18-0); Hick 2-0-12-0 (one spell).

Progress: 50: 46 min, 77 balls. Tea: 98-2 (Lara 4) 24.3 overs. 100: 100 min, 152 balls. 150: 157 min, 241 balls. Innings closed 6.37pm. Ostler's 50: 66 min, 63 balls, 8 fours. Umpires: H D Bird, K E Palmer, B Leadbeater.


Man of the match: P A Smith. -----------------------------------------------------------------