Spin secures win after Trott's century

Warwickshire 283 for 7 (Trott 101, Evans 70, Ambrose 60, Napier 3-60) beat Essex 213 (Westley 61, ten Doeschate 53, Patel 3-2, Poysden 3-46) by 70 runs

A century from Jonathan Trott helped Warwickshire into the semi-finals of the Royal London One-Day Cup with a 70-run victory over Essex. They will play Somerset at Edgbaston over the Bank Holiday weekend with a Lord's final the reward for the winner.

Trott, with his third century in five innings in the competition this season (one of the other innings was 66 against Lancashire), laid the platform for a competitive total on a used pitch - this match was played on the surface used in the Test between England and Pakistan - before Laurie Evans provided some late impetus and Warwickshire's three spinners strangled the Essex reply.

It was the fourth time in the last three seasons that Warwickshire had defeated Essex in a limited-overs knock-out match and the second time in little more than a week that Essex had been knocked out in a quarter-final following their T20 loss against Nottinghamshire. Their dressing room door remained closed for some time after the result, though their season is not over. Promotion in the County Championship is still within their reach.

This was, in many ways, an old-fashioned one-day match suiting Warwickshire's old-fashioned template. While Warwickshire, and Trott in particular, may not be the best on the sort of pitches where 350 might be considered par, on these surfaces, where a total of 270 is decent, they are almost ideal.

Plan A for Warwickshire involves Trott - it could be any of the top three, but realistically it is Trott - batting for the first 40 overs or so and providing the foundation of a competitive score before Evans - it could be any of the middle-order, but realistically it is Evans - thrashing the late runs required to take the total to the required level. Get either of them early and Warwickshire have to fall back on Plan B. It is far from certain that they have one.

If it sounds familiar, it is because it is how England used to play their ODI cricket. It may be unfashionable now, but it is not so long since it took England to No. 1 in the world and the brink (on this very ground) of their first global ODI title.

For a while, it seemed Warwickshire may struggle to set a competitive total. After settling in against the new balls - the easiest time to bat on this wicket - Warwickshire were forced to regroup once Sam Hain was beaten by a quicker one from Graham Napier (playing the final List A match of an outstanding career that really should have earned some T20I caps) and Ian Bell fell for a duck. Three successive overs brought just one run from the bat.

Gradually, though, Tim Ambrose and Trott grew more comfortable. With Essex having only one full-time spinner in Ashar Zaidi and the offspin of Tom Westley in support, they were obliged to persist with their seamers on a surface offering them little and Warwickshire's third-wicket pair added 136 in 26.4 overs. Trott, driving fluently, running quickly and reverse-sweeping well, completed his 13th List A century - a chanceless affair - for Warwickshire from 122 balls. Only Nick Knight, with 23, has scored more List A centuries for the club.

The value of Trott's contribution was highlighted after his dismissal from a leg-side wide. Just as they needed to accelerate, they were forced to rebuild, scoring just 14 runs from the start of the 43rd over to the end of the 46th.

But Evans remained. Whatever his frustrations in red-ball cricket - he has requested his release from his Warwickshire contract due to his lack of first team opportunities in the Championship side - his remains an essential part of the club's white-ball teams. Here he thrashed an unbeaten 70 from 53 balls, striking powerfully over midwicket and taking 14 in three balls (two fours and a six) from the penultimate over of the innings bowled by the unfortunate Napier.

When Essex raced to 69 without loss in 12 overs, it looked as if they might coast to victory. Nick Browne, driving sweetly, hit the usually tight Rikki Clarke out of the attack, while Westley used Chris Woakes' pace to his advantage with some lovely drives and late cuts.

But the introduction of spin was always going to be crucial. And, after Browne was stumped off another leg-side wide, Warwickshire's spinners utilised the conditions perfectly.

If the highlight was a leg-break bowled out of the front of the hand by Jeetan Patel - it was the first time Trott had seen the offspinner bowl the delivery in a match and it certainly surprised Ravi Bopara, who sliced it to backward point - Warwickshire will have been equally pleased by the contribution of their two younger spinners.

Josh Poysden claimed three wickets with his leg-breaks - "I bowled 60 leg-breaks today," he said, "with some of them turning and some of them skidding on" - while Ateeq Javid provided two more with his waspish off-breaks: one with a leg-side wide; the other with a filthy full-toss that must have been perilously close to be called for no-ball on height.

In all, Warwickshire's trio of spinners claimed 8 for 108 in 24.1 overs. Poysden bowled just the one poor delivery in his entire spell - a long-hop that was pulled for six by the impressive Ryan ten Doeschate - and, while he doesn't turn the ball a great deal, nor did Eric Hollies. And they named a stand after him.

Bell deserves credit, too. While he failed with the bat, drawn into an edge as he attempted to guide one down to third man, he juggled his bowlers masterfully and challenged the Essex batsmen to attack his spinners by keeping fielders close to the bat. The crucial wicket of Jesse Ryder, who had scored two centuries and three half-centuries in the competition this season, was claimed when Bell urged Poysden to go round the wicket and bowl into the rough. The resulting leg-break turned through the gate as Ryder advanced down the pitch.

This was a much-needed result for Warwickshire. Having failed to qualify from their T20 group and seem their Championship hopes gradually descend into a relegation battle, this competition provides the final chance to salvage some success from a disappointing season. Rumblings from around the club suggest change is in the air. Perhaps a Lord's final might provoke a re-think.