Sunday, July 30th, 2017

Clarke Produces Innings To Remember As Rapids Overpower Jets

Clarke Produces Innings To Remember As Rapids Overpower Jets

Joe Clarke produced one of Worcestershire's finest innings in 14 years of T20 cricket as his 45 ball century powered the Rapids to an eight wicket win over Durham Jets at New Road.

The 21-year-old smashed eight sixes and 12 fours as the Rapids stormed to a daunting looking 202 target with nearly two overs to spare.

It was a second win in the last three games for Worcestershire and a massive confidence booster ahead of Friday's derby with Birmingham Bears at Edgbaston.

Clarke upstaged a player nearly twice his age in Paul Collingwood who had also demonstrated his class in making the first T20 ton of his illustrious career at the age of 41.

He has taken like a duck to water to the challenge presented to him of opening the innings in T20 Blast cricket this summer and brought a power-hitting quality to his game.

But there were other significant contributions to the Rapids victory.

Brett D'Oliveira's spell of 4-0-16-1 was a magnificent effort in the context of run-laced fixture on a superb wicket produced by head groundsman Tim Packwood and his team.

Ben Cox also gave another example of his quality with the bat as he raced to 43 off 29 balls in a partnership of 97 in eight overs with Clarke who finished unbeaten on 124 from 53 balls.

Collingwood survived an early chance, dropped on four at point off former Durham all-rounder John Hastings.

Collingwood ended with 108 not out and his second and third wicket partnerships with Graham Clark – 106 in 10 overs – and skipper Paul Coughlin – an unbroken 92 in eight overs – were both records in matches against Worcestershire.

The Rapids handed a T20 debut to paceman Josh Tongue who had taken four wickets on his first appearance for England Under-19s in the opening 'Test' v India Under-19s at Chesterfield.

He bowled a tidy opening over and then Cameron Steel (2) perished to the first delivery from Hastings, caught by Tongue at short fine leg.

Clark (52) holed out to long off attempting another big hit against D'Oliveira who was the only bowler on either side to stem the tide of boundaries.

Collingwood found another able ally in skipper Paul Coughlin (29 not out) as 61 came from the final five overs.

The Rapids needed a quickfire start – and it was provided by Clarke and Hastings.

Clarke collected three fours and a six in an over from Coughlin costing 20 as the fifty came up in the fifth over.

The Rapids reached 65-0 at the end of the powerplay but Collingwood came into the attack and his first ball accounted for Hastings (24) at deep mid wicket.

Clarke completed his third half century in the last five T20 innings with his third six – off spinner Ryan Pringle.

Cox was equally effective in helping Clarke plunder the bowling before he was caught at long-off off the bowling of Barry McCarthy for 43.

Clarke went to his 100 with six over long on off James Weighell and then sealed victory in double quick time on a memorable day.