Monday, June 27th, 2022


Joe Leach marked his return to first team action with career best figures of 6-44 to help Worcestershire take control on day two of the LV=Insurance County Championship match with Glamorgan at New Road.

The all-rounder has been sidelined since suffering a back problem in mid-May but quickly made his presence felt on a wicket of pace and bounce, continuing to offer encouragement to the seamers.

His three-wicket burst on Sunday evening had put Worcestershire in the ascendancy, and he continued in the same vein today to earn his side a first innings lead of 132.

Glamorgan were dismissed for 139, and only opener Ed Byrom, with a fighting half-century, offered much resistance.

Azhar Ali and Jake Libby then built on Worcestershire’s position of strength with a second wicket stand of 87.

A late flurry of wickets, due mainly to a fine spell from Michael Neser, meant the home side closed on 147-6 – a lead of 279.

Leach has been a talismanic figure for Worcestershire with the ball for many seasons since making the switch from initially being primarily a middle-order batter.

The 31-year-old has that ability to take wickets in clusters which shows no sign of diminishing as he lifted his first class tally past the 380 mark.

He was well supported by Ed Barnard, Charlie Morris and Dillon Pennington as Glamorgan were bowled out in just 44.3 overs.

Tom Fell came into the Worcestershire side for his first senior appearance of the season as a concussion replacement for Taylor Cornall.

Cornall was struck on the helmet by a delivery from Michael Neser during Worcestershire’s first innings on the opening day.

Fell had last played at first team level in the Championship match with Kent at Canterbury last September.

Leach continued in the same vein as on Sunday evening and struck in his first over of the day when beating the defensive prod of Sam Northeast, who was bowled.

It became two wickets in two balls when Kiran Carlson pushed forward and was snapped up by Josh Baker low to his right at third slip.

Morris was rewarded for a challenging opening spell when Billy Root was caught behind.

Leach returned to the attack shortly before lunch to have Glamorgan keeper Tom Cullen taken at first slip for his sixth scalp.

Neser offered no stroke to Ed Barnard and was bowled before opener Ed Byrom completed an excellent half century off 112 balls with eight fours.

The innings was wrapped up when number ten Andrew Salter, who had opened in the first six Championship games of the season, nicked Barnard to second slip.

Byrom was last out on 57 when he drilled Dillon Pennington to long on.

Morris finished with figures of 12-3-32-1, Pennington 11.3-1-37-1 and Barnard 8-2-25-2.

When Worcestershire batted again, Ed Pollock drove at a widish delivery in Michael Hogan’s opening over and was caught at first slip.

Libby was joined by Azhar, and the pair batted with great calmness in seeing off the threat posed by the new ball.

Azhar did the bulk of the scoring during the early stages of the partnership, but Libby gradually opened out.

He cover-drove and on-drove Michael Hogan for boundaries in the same over.

But the Australian broke the partnership in his next over when Azhar on 42 was caught behind off a delivery which kept low.

Libby moved to within one run of his half century before he tried to work James Harris to leg and was leg before.

Fell on 17 was then undone by a lifter from Neser, which he edged to give Cullen his seventh catch of the match so far.

Neser had more success when Club Captain, Brett D’Oliveira (7), was taken by Northeast low at second slip.

First innings century-maker Barnard managed a single before he was bowled by Neser.