County Championship round-up: Connell inspires Ireland at 13th time of asking to defeat Royals

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The Independent Online

Worcestershire were humiliated by Ireland in the Friends Provident Trophy at New Road yesterday. Bowled out astonishingly for 58, they lost by 94 runs and were deprived of second place in Group A.

The quarter-finals have caused the England and Wales Cricket Board some mild embarrassment too. Gloucestershire finished top in Group C – unexpected that – but cannot play at home in Bristol as they would be entitled to do on Saturday because there is a one-day international between England and West Indies on the ground the following day. Arrangements for the tie against Nottinghamshire will be confirmed today, but however it is resolved the ECB's congested and and unwieldy fixtures schedule has dealt Gloucestershire an unkind and unfair blow.

In the rest of the quarter-final draw, Lancashire entertain Essex, Middlesex go to Hampshire and Somerset play Sussex at Taunton.

Worcestershire had looked set to progress from Group A after rolling over the Irish – who had not won for 12 matches in the competition – for a measly 152. But the Royals could not cope with the bowling of Peter Connell and managed just 58 runs before being bowled out as Hampshire and Nottinghamshire went through at their expense.

In Group B, Warwickshire were eliminated after rain stopped play at Edgbaston with their match against Kent tied on the Duckworth-Lewis method. It was finally decided after lengthy deliberations that play should be abandoned with the Bears on 241 for 6 after 46.5 overs, chasing the Spitfires' 265. The draw meant that Middlesex joined group winners Somerset in the next round.