Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Clarke Shines As Worcs Share Spoils At Cheltenham

Clarke Shines As Worcs Share Spoils At Cheltenham

Joe Clarke hit an unbeaten 93 to earn Worcestershire an honourable draw from the Specsavers County Championship match with Gloucestershire at Cheltenham.

Worcestershire lost early wickets after being set a demanding target of 370 in 51 overs.

But Clarke continued his recent good form in striking 15 fours in his 95 ball knock as Worcestershire closed on 155-5 with nine overs remaining.

He was given good support by Ben Cox and Ross Whiteley as Worcestershire collected 11 points from the game – three for bowling, three for batting and five for a share of the spoils.

Gloucestershire had extended their second innings from 62-1 to 286-4 before the declaration.

Opener Brett D'Oliveira (0) was lbw to David Payne from the third ball of the innings, Tom Fell (0) departed to the same bowler – also lbw – and then Daryl Mitchell (5) was bowled by Liam Norwell.

Worcestershire were then 5-3 in the sixth over with Clarke and George Rhodes joining forces.

Clarke collected the first boundary of the innings via a handsome cover-driver off Payne and then Rhodes pulled the same bowler to the ropes.

The former bristled with attacking intent and reeled off a series of fours in reaching 32 out of 47-3 from 16 overs at tea.

A fourth wicket went down just after the interval when Rhodes (9) shouldered arms and was bowled by Norwell.

First innings century-maker Ben Cox went to the middle and the partnership with Clarke added 63 in just nine overs.

Clarke completed a fluent half century containing eight fours – many of them fluent cover drives – from just 49 deliveries.

But the stand with Cox (21) was broken when the wicket-keeper offered no stroke to Kieran Noema-Barnett and became the third lbw victim of the innings.

Earlier Gloucestershire opener Chris Dent (135 not out) and keeper Gareth Roderick 81) added 189 in 30 overs for the third wicket.

They came together at 90-2 after Will Tavare was lbw to Ed Barnard (32) – his fifth wicket of an impressive match with the ball.

John Hastings had bowled a long testing spell at the start of the day and again looked to be in a good rhythm.

Dent and Roderick upped the scoring rate after the introduction of spinners D'Oliveira and Rhodes.

The century for Dent came up off 186 balls with two sixes and 11 fours. He survived a dropped chance at deep square leg off D'Oliveira on 108.

Josh Tongue ended the stand by bowling Roderick for 81 and then Graeme van Buuren (0) was caught at mid-off off Mitchell immediately before the declaration.