Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

Bumpy And Joe: We Want To Go Up As Champions

Worcestershire Director Of Cricket Steve Rhodes and captain Joe Leach revealed their delight at clinching promotion – but both want to go up as Specsavers County Championship Division Two champions.

The County made sure of a fifth promotion in 12 seasons under Rhodes via securing six bonus points against Durham and also rivals Northamptonshire failing to top 300 against Leicestershire.

Now victory against Durham would ensure top spot although a draw would be sufficient if Nottinghamshire fail to beat Sussex.

Leach said: “I’m very happy at the moment but it’s a bit of a weird feeling.

“Tomorrow we want to come and win the game and make sure we are crowned champions. That is important to us all.

“We are really pleased to be going up but we want to do it in style and sign off with a win tomorrow.

“It’s been a great effort with predominantly a group of home grown lads with a couple of exceptional overseas players which we’ve had as well.

“I think I spoke at the start of the year and said it’s about time we delivered. We’ve had our maturing phase and now we want results and luckily we’ve managed to do that this year.

“Eight wins so far speaks for itself and if we do finish the job tomorrow then we probably deserve to go up as champions.”

Rhodes said: “It is a lovely feeling but it is quite strange though because we are still in mid game and generally in the past when we’ve been promoted it’s been at the end of the match and finding out results elsewhere.

“We are delighted but we’ve got one day to go in the season now and it will really cap it off if we can win this game and finish as champions.

“I think that means so much to the boys. We are very proud to go up but we’d love to go up and say ‘we were champions.'”

Worcestershire achieved their sixth promotion in 14 years since the two-division split via an emphasis on home grown products and there are 10 Academy players in the side versus Durham.

Rhodes said: “You know my thoughts on trying to develop England players. There are ten Academy players in this game with Ashwin – and with only Ashwin being an international player.

“But that shouldn’t take anything away from some of the quality of cricket our home grown local lads are producing.

“In an era where you are under pressure to perform and get results, this is the reason for the short term fix and why a lot of clubs and coaches make a policy of venturing off into international players who can play as ‘locals’ in our competition.

“It very is much a short term fix but it does make life difficult for us because we end up playing against some very strong sides.

“It’s a nice pill to swallow and long may it continue. We’ve had to play above our station a lot in the summer to beat some of these teams and Joe, who has done a magnificent job in his first year as captain, and the boys should take a lot of credit for that.”