WORCESTERSHIRE Rapids suffered an eight-wicket defeat when they opened their Royal London One-Day Cup campaign against Essex Eagles at New Road.

The Rapids were indebted to Joe Leach and Shaaiq Choudhry for being able to set a 239-run target.

They came together at 145-7 and plundered an unbroken 93 to lift Rapids to 238-7 in their 50 overs.

Leach finished unbeaten on 45 from 34 balls with six fours and Choudhry 44 not out from 36 deliveries with seven boundaries.

But Essex clinched victory with 7.4 overs left as opener Mark Pettini hit an unbeaten 102 and shared century partnerships with Ravi Bopara and Jesse Ryder.

The Rapids were put into bat and lost wickets to the first two deliveries from Graham Napier, who trapped Richard Oliver lbw and then bowled Tom Fell.

Alexei Kervezee blocked the hat-trick ball and then despatched the next delivery for four.

Kervezee and skipper Daryl Mitchell set about repairing the innings as Rapids reached 36-2 by the end of the first 10-over powerplay.

Mitchell cut David Masters for four as the 50 came up in the 13th over.

The stand was worth 59 in 13 overs when Kervezee, having made an aggressive 37 off 39 balls with four fours, played back to spinner Tim Phillips and was adjudged lbw.

Tom Kohler-Cadmore got into his stride and picked up two boundaries in an over from Ryder.

Mitchell looked set for a lengthy innings but, after making 28, became Phillips’ second lbw victim with the total on 84 in the 20th over.

Spinners Phillips (2-31), Tom Westley and Greg Smith conceded only 42 runs in a 15-over spell in tandem.

Kohler-Cadmore made 34 from 54 balls with five fours before he fell victim to a leg-side stumping by James Foster off Westley.

Worcestershire took the powerplay at 126-5 off 35 overs and Ross Whiteley survived a run-out mix-up with Ben Cox after Masters dropped the throw at the non-strikers end.

Cox (20) was caught on the mid-wicket boundary off Napier and Whiteley edged behind to leave the County on 145-7 in the 39th over.

Choudhry and Leach joined forces and the former scooped four off Napier (4-59).

Leach lofted the bowler for a boundary as the 50 stand came up in seven overs and the total went past 200 in the 46th. The eighth-wicket duo continued to score freely.

Mitchell McClenaghan (1-59) struck an early blow in reply when Westley (5) tried to pull a quick delivery and Cox took a diving catch.

Bopara and Pettini shared a partnership of 109 for the second wicket before the former was bowled by Leach (1-41) for 59.

Ryder hit four sixes and four fours in his half-century from 38 balls.

Pettini’s 100 came up off 112 balls with 10 fours and Ryder was unbeaten on 68 from 51 deliveries with fives sixes and six fours.

The County look to bounce back at Northamptonshire on Tuesday.