Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

Career Best Match Figures For Leach As County Held To A Draw

Career Best Match Figures For Leach As County Held To A Draw

Joe Leach returned the best match figures of his career but a combination of the weather and last day stubborn batting denied Worcestershire victory against Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl.

Marathon man Leach bowled 27 overs today in Hampshire's second innings and finished with figures of 4-89 and an overall game analysis of 50-10-152-9.

But visitors were thwarted by a dogged display by Will Smith who batted two sessions for 64 not out as Hampshire, who had a first innings deficit of 181, finished on 245-6 before the two sides shook hands.

Worcestershire were also left to rue the loss of more than 100 overs on the first and third days in a match they dominated after the opening session on Sunday.

They collected maximum bowling and batting points and five points for a draw to give them a match tally of 13 points.

There were plenty of impressive performances apart from the one by Leach who has now taken 27 Championship wickets in just four appearances this season.

Skipper Daryl Mitchell showed an impressive return to form with 142 not out, Ben Cox impressed behind the stumps and with another 69 not out and Ed Barnard showed promise with the ball on his Championship debut.

The visitors claimed four wickets in the pre-lunch session and Hampshire went into the interval on 83-4 – still 98 in arrears.

Leach made the first breakthrough of the day in the third over when Liam Dawson (7) pushed forward and keeper Ben Cox took a good waist high catch with 10 runs on the board.

Adams was clearly intent on batting for a lengthy period and he had to wait for his 56th delivery to register his first boundary off Charlie Morris.

Jack Shantry came on for Leach and he quickly accounted for Michael Carberry (6).

The former England opener was tucked up and Richard Oliver held onto the chance at short leg with Hampshire 30-2 in the 16th over.

Worcestershire were then very much in the ascendancy but Adams and James Vince provided stubborn resistance.

Adams had a slice of good fortune when he top edged Ed Barnard for four over the keeper and slip cordon.

Vince, the leading scorer in Division Two last season, played in a determined and circumspect manner to try and thwart the visitors attack.

But then Worcestershire made two breakthroughs in quick succession. 

Adams and Vince added 53 but the latter on 12 did not get far forward to Barnard and was adjudged lbw with Hampshire 83-3.

Then right on the stroke of lunch Leach ended the resistance of Adams for 47 when he was also trapped leg before.

The county attack continued to probe away after lunch but Adam Wheater and Smith dug in.

Wheater was the more aggressive and went to his half century off 95 balls with two boundaries off Leach but the bowler had his revenge by dismissing him in the same over.

Leach went around the wicket after tea and a ball stopped on Sean Ervine (8) and was caught at cover by Tom Fell with Hampshire 170-6 – still 11 runs in arrears.

But it proved to be Worcestershire's last success.

Smith continued to prove defiant and a drive down the ground for three by Gareth Berg off Charlie Morris put Hampshire ahead.

The second new ball was taken with 19 overs remaining at 195-6 but Morris and Leach were unable to split the seventh wicket pair.

By the close they had added 72 in 21 overs with Berg unbeaten on 32.