Dillon Pennington produced his career best performance with the ball as Worcestershire CCC closed in on victory after enforcing the follow-on against Derbyshire on day three of the LV=Insurance County Championship match at New Road.
The paceman bowled a series of excellent spells from the New Road End and was rewarded with figures of 4-44 from 19.4 overs.
Club Captain Joe Leach, Ed Barnard and Alzarri Joseph all picked up two wickets as Derbyshire were bowled out for 270 – despite a fine unbeaten 81 from Matt Critchley – in reply to Worcestershire’s first innings total of 421.
Leach asked the visitors to bat again 151 runs in arrears half an hour before tea and they again ran in trouble and closed on 112-6 with Pennington claiming three more wickets and spinner Brett D’Oliveira also making a sizeable impact with a double breakthrough
Worcestershire’s bowlers were backed up by some razor-sharp catching behind the stumps on a day of which would have delighted their watching members.
Derbyshire resumed this morning on 91-3 from 31 overs with Leach and Pennington sharing the attack against Wayne Madsen and Ben McDermott.
Pennington bowled a particularly testing spell and Madsen on 37 survived a confident lbw shout after offering no shot.
But the England Under-19 bowler gained a deserved breakthrough when dismissing McDermott for 25.
He beat him outside the off stump with successive balls and then the Australian T20I international drove hard at a delivery which he edged to Daryl Mitchell at second slip.
Joseph, playing the last match of his current spell with the County, replaced Pennington who had excellent morning figures of 6-3-9-1.
New batsman Critchley on two nicked the West Indian paceman just short of Mitchell.
Barnard came into the attack at the Diglis End and Critchley had another scare on 10 when Tom Fell at first slip was unable to hold onto a sharp low chance.
Madsen completed his half century off 127 balls with seven fours – his 10th fifty plus score in 18 innings against Worcestershire.
He added only one more run before Barnard ended his innings with Mitchell holding onto his second catch of the day away to his left at 137-5.
Critchley, a century-maker against Worcestershire in this summer’s meeting at Derby, grew in confidence and twice cover drove Joseph for boundaries.
Fynn Hudson-Prentice gave Critchley good support during a sixth wicket stand of 56 in 14 overs.
But Leach returned and ended the resistance of Hudson-Prentice on 25 in the final over before lunch when he mis-timed his drive and was caught by Jack Haynes at third slip.
Critchley completed a 67-ball half century soon after the resumption when he pulled Leach for his eighth boundary and the 200 came up in 63.4 overs.
The impressive Pennington came back into the attack and his first delivery accounted for Alex Hughes who was caught behind for 25.
Joseph switched ends and looked fired up as he trapped Ben Aitchison (1) lbw via a low full toss and then bowled Sam Conners (4) as he backed away to leg.
Pennington wrapped up the innings when Dustin Melton (5) was pouched by Fell at first slip – and he was soon back amongst the wickets when Derbyshire followed on.
Cox pulled off a superb one-handed catch low to his right after Pennington found the edge of Brooke Guest’s bat after he had scored seven.
Leus du Plooy needed 30 balls to get off the mark before collecting two boundaries in an over from Joseph.
But he picked up a key wicket when Derbyshire captain Billy Godleman (21) attempted a drive but edged another catch – this one head high – to Mitchell.
Spin was introduced via D’Oliveira and he enjoyed a success after switching to the Diglis End with Du Plooy (19) using his feet but only succeeding in providing a low return catch.
Pennington’s sixth wicket of the match came when McDermott (1) looked to work the ball to leg but went leg before.
He was then indebted to a spectacular catch by Fell at first slip to dismiss Critchley (6).
It became 93-6 when Hudson-Prentice (0) went back to D’Oliveira and chopped onto his stumps.
D’Oliveira has now taken 14 wickets this summer and done an excellent job as the fifth bowler in supporting the quartet of pace bowlers.