Ed Barnard is on course for his best-ever season with the bat after helping to put Worcestershire CCC in a position of strength on day two of the LV=Insurance County Championship match with Derbyshire at New Road.
The talented all-rounder took his run tally to 414 for the 2021 campaign with a splendid 90 as Worcestershire amassed 421 all out in their first innings.
Barnard’s best aggregate in a single year is 580 in 2017 at an average of 36.25, but that came from 14 matches.
This is only his seventh appearance of the summer, and he has an average of 51.75 with one century and three other fifty-plus scores to his credit.
He said: “I’m enjoying my batting at the minute, I’m loving it, so hopefully, it keeps going.
“I’m moving, and I’m, I’m hitting the ball well. I feel like I’m making good decisions.
“I want to keep going and working hard at it, and hopefully, I can do it all season and push my case to get up the order.
“Have I any personal targets? “I’ve been told my best in a season is 580. If I can beat that, it would be great.
“All I want to do is keep beating my best performances previously.
“It’s gone well so far, so if I can get up near that 600-700 runs mark, that would be really good.
“That’s the best way to push my case to move up the order, which I’ve always said I wanted to do.”
Barnard shepherded the final three wickets after resuming on 336-7 to such an extent that 85 more valuable runs were added and four batting points secured.
He said: “It was a good day. We achieved what we wanted to do this morning. We got nearly 100 more runs.
“We would have liked the fifth batting bonus point, but they bowled well, and kind of took it away from us.
“But to get three wickets this evening represents excellent progress for us and sets up the game nicely.
“It was nice to get a few runs again, to get a few last night and get myself in was good and then, coming back this morning and the tail wagging and helping me out a bit and Dillon playing really well at the end, really helped.
“The great thing about our batting line-up with Dillon coming in at number eleven means we don’t have any genuine tail-enders, and we saw at Essex that he can really bat.
“The hundred is in the back of your mind all the time, and it would be really nice to get there, but I just think getting over 400 was the most important thing.”
Barnard was full of praise for the wicket, which has offered encouragement to batsmen and bowlers alike.
He said: “It feels like it is a really good cricket wicket. It feels like if you bowl in the right areas, there is a bit there, you get a bit of seam movement, a bit of swing, but also you can play your shots on it.
“The ball comes onto the bat nicely which has been shown throughout the game.
“For us, it is about stacking balls in an area. I thought we did it pretty well tonight, not quite 100 per cent, but we got it in the right area most of the time.
“If we can stack (balls) all day tomorrow and the next day, we will put ourselves in a good position to try and win the game.”