Monday, April 25th, 2016

Clarke Hits Second Ton Of Season As County Launch Strong Fightback

Clarke Hits Second Ton Of Season As County Launch Strong Fightback

Joe Clarke scored his second century of the season as Worcestershire fought back strongly with ball and bat on day two of the Specsavers County Championship match with Gloucestershire at Bristol.

The England Lions player followed up his 100 in the first class match against Oxford MCCU in The Parks with an unbeaten 103 from 138 balls with 13 fours.

He was given excellent support by wicket-keeper Ben Cox – unbeaten on 59 from 110 deliveries with 10 boundaries – in an unbroken sixth wicket stand of 135 as Worcestershire reached 297-5 from 75 overs by the close – just 83 in arrears.

Clarke certainly appears to have a liking for facing Gloucestershire attacks – in all competitions and at all levels.

He scored a double hundred in a Second Eleven game at Cheltenham College last May to seal a spot in the first team.

Then in July Clarke registered a superb century in the Royal London Cup clash with eventual competition winners Gloucestershire at New Road.

Clarke and Cox came together after a mid innings flurry of wickets had followed on from a second wicket stand of 120 between Moeen Ali and Brett D'Oliveira.

The County had suffered an early setback when skipper Daryl Mitchell was lbw to David Payne for nought from the first ball of the innings.

But then Ali and D'Oliveira hoisted their century partnership in the 26th over.

Moeen showed aggressive intent from the start, striking Payne for two boundaries in the opening over.

He reeled off a succession of straight drives and his half century came up out of 84-1 with 10 boundaries off 85 balls.

A two for D'Oliveira off Kieran Noema-Barnett raised the 100 stand with Moeen who drove Josh Shaw for six over the sightscreen.

Mooen reached 74 before he was caught behind off Shaw with his 120 stand alongside D'Oliveira spanning 28.5 overs.

The 28-year-old hit 14 fours and a six in his 102 ball knock.

D'Oliveira made an accomplished 40 from 82 deliveries with five boundaries before he was lbw to Noema-Barnett.

Then Tom Kohler-Cadmore (0) was bowled by Shaw off an inside edge with the total 131-4.

Clarke twice picked up two boundaries in an over from Noema-Barnett and David Payne.

But it became 162-5 when Ross Whiteley (8) was caught behind off Noema-Barnett.

Tea was taken nine runs later with Clarke on 37 and Cox twoand the duo dominated the final session of the day.

Clarke went to an excellent half century off 53 balls with seven fours and the 50 stand with Cox came up in just 11.1 overs.

Jack Shantry and Matt Henry had ensured Worcestershire claimed maximum bowling points as Gloucestershire lost five quick wickets during the morning session.

Gloucestersire resumed on 336-5 from 96 overs and were eventually dismissed for 380 in 114.2 overs.

Shantry finished with 4-89 from 31.2 overs and Henry, on his County debut, 3-89 from 31 overs as the pair bowled unchanged for 75 minutes this morning.

The initial breakthrough came in the first over from Shantry as Noema-Barnett failed to add to his overnight 84 before pulling a short delivery into the hands of Whiteley on the square leg boundary.

Whiteley claimed his fourth catch of the innings, this time at third slip, as Jack Taylor (12) edged a delivery from Henry.

Liam Norwell (9) was then trapped lbw by Shantry and then Henry accounted for century-maker and New Zealand compatriot Hamish Marshall to secure a third bowling point in the 108th over.

Marshall on 135 went to hook a bouncer and only top-edged through to keeper Ben Cox who held onto a fine catch.

He struck 15 fours in his 223 ball innings. Shantry wrapped up the innings when Payne (2) was bowled via the inside edge.