Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

Clarke Hits Superb Hundred As Worcs Reach 366 Target

Clarke Hits Superb Hundred As Worcs Reach 366 Target

Joe Clarke led Worcestershire  to a superb three wicket win over Leicestershire on the final afternoon of the Specsavers County Championship clash at New Road.

The home side, set a 366 target in 75 overs, lost four wickets in eight overs after lunch and stood on 73-4.

But Clarke hit 123 off 172 balls with 17 fours to form the bedrock of the County's second Championship win of the campaign.

He received excellent support from Ross Whiteley and Joe Leach in stands of 142  and 108 respectively as the home side triumphed with 10 balls to spare.

It was Clarke's third Championship hundred of the campaign and there was a welcome return to form for Whiteley (71) while Leach's 64 not out from 51 balls was his second major contribution of the game with the bat.

The Foxes thought they had claimed a fifth wicket when Clarke was given out lbw by umpire Jeremy Lloyds on 31

Clarke walked off but, after Lloyds and fellow umpire Graham Lloyd, conferred the England Lions player was recalled to the middle. 

The 20-year-old went onto reach his half century from 77 balls with eight boundaries.

The partnership had spanned 34 overs when Whiteley – on 71 for the third time this season – nicked a Charlie Shreck delivery to first slip.

After Ben Cox (2) also fell to Shreck, Leach came to the middle and repeated the aggressive form which had brought him 95 in the first innings.

His stand with Clarke, which occupied 17 overs, steered Worcestershire to within 21 runs of victory.

Clarke was then run out by keeper Ned Ecklersley's direct hit at the non-striker's end after being called through for a single by Leach.

But Leach and Ed Barnard completed the task and sealed a magnificent win.

Worcestershire skipper Daryl Mitchell (32) and Brett D'Oliveira (16) got the innings off to a positive start with a 50 stand in nine overs.

But then Clint McKay dismissed the openers in successive overs and Shreck accounted for Tom Fell (10) and Tom Kohler-Cadmore (5).

Mark Cosgrove and Paul Horton scored centuries for Leicestershire on the final morning to set upthe declaration.

The visitors resumed on 172-2 and eventually declared on 307-3 after 76 overs.

Horton and Cosgrove created a new third wicket record for Leicestershire in matches against Worcestershire by adding 264 in 57.3 overs.

It surpassed the previous best stand of 194 by Chris Balderstone and Brian Davison at Grace Road in 1975.

Horton was the first to three figures off 198 balls with 11 fours and he also completed 10,000 first class runs.

Cosgrove, who survived a chance on 66 off Joe Leach, went to his hundred off 165 deliveries with 16 boundaries and the Australian chalked up 12,000 first class runs.

He was eventually bowled by Jack Shantry and immediately declared to leave Horton unbeaten on 117.