It is three years since Simon Jones last played a Test match. It was at Trent Bridge in August 2005 that Jones blitzed five Australian batsmen to set England up for a victory that was to win them the Ashes, and until yesterday he had not taken five wickets since. A return of 5 for 32 from his allotted 10 overs not only helped Worcestershire to a nine-wicket victory over Hampshire in the Friends Provident Trophy at New Road, but also raised the tantalising prospect that Jones may yet prove to still have what it takes.
He joined his new county in the close season after Glamorgan offered him only a pay-as-you-play deal, and when he managed just three overs in his first game for Worcestershire, there would no doubt have been knowing looks cast eastwards from Cardiff. But yesterday's return was the best of his one-day career, four of his wickets coming in a devastating 11-ball burst. Hampshire were dismissed for 209, a total the home side passed with 22.3 overs to spare after Vikram Solanki and Steve Davies opened with a stand of 160.
It keeps Worcestershire on course to qualify from the South/West Division,although Gloucestershire still the lead the way after Craig Spearman's unbeaten 140 steered them to four-wicket win over Somerset.
Essex made it three wins out of three in the South/East Division with a crushing 156-run win over Surrey at The Oval. Mark Pettini and Jason Gallian laid the foundations of Essex's 391 for 5 – their highest score in one-day cricket. Pettini, the Essex captain, was dropped on one off Jade Dernbach and went on to make a career-best 144 off 120 balls. Dernbach's 10 overs cost 107. Gallian made 117 as the Essex openers put on 269. Mark Ramprakash's quick-fire 98 gave Surrey a bright start, but the introduction of David Masters put a stop to that, the seamer taking a one-day best 5 for 17 as Surrey collapsed.
Martin van Jaarsveld produced another captain's innings to usher Kent to a nine-wicket win over Sussex. Van Jaarsveld made an unbeaten 109 as Kent won with 47 balls to spare.
Francois du Plessis's 72 not out lifted Lancashire to the top of the North Division, but more importantly earned a three-wicket win over Yorkshire.