Worcestershire CCC Club Captain Joe Leach says the win over Gloucestershire was the first building block in a plan to play red ball cricket in a style that long term will be good enough to make its mark in Division One of the County Championship.
Leach says the County have “identified the right way to play four-day cricket” and the first fruits of their labours to put that into practice were seen in the impressive eight wicket win over Division One side Gloucestershire in the Bob Willis Trophy at Bristol.
The all-rounder highlighted the need to stay calm, to hold your nerve, to stick to your beliefs and to remain disciplined during games as key areas even during periods in a match when the opposition may be in the ascendancy.
This was highlighted at Bristol with Gloucestershire 205-2 at one stage, however the rest of the game was dominated by Worcestershire who greatly impressed with bat and ball until victory was completed with 8.5 overs to spare.
Leach said: “We’ve set our stall out to play four-day cricket in a certain way now and to win in the last session on day four is probably the most satisfying feelings you can have as a county cricketer.
“I can’t speak highly enough about the group. Everyone contributed to what was a very thorough performance. Even after those first two first sessions, I wasn’t panicking at all. We set our stall out to bowl economically, be patient and knew our rewards would come.
“The Bristol pitch is historically very good for batsman so controlling the run rate and making sure that when we did get our opportunities, we took them, was key in both innings. It was a real lesson in backing up sessions with the ball – and with the bat as well.
“If you look at where we were on the evening of day two, we were in a very similar position to what they were but we managed to get through that period very well and capitalised on that the next morning which put us in a position to kick on and win the game.”
Leach added: “We are very much focused on what we are doing. We’ve worked exceptionally hard to put a game plan into place that should hopefully stand the test of time across both divisions in the long run.
“This was the first step of that being put into practice. We are going to hit speed bumps along the way, whether they will be next week or in the future, but it’s about how we consistently perform in the coming years and develop as a side.
“We’ve just identified what is the right way to play four-day cricket and we are working very hard to put that into place. We’ve been guilty in the past of playing ‘quick’ cricket and won a lot of games but also lost a lot of games.
“That doesn’t stand the test in Division One. We have had a long hard look at ourselves and it feels like we are moving in the right direction.
“We won’t get games like this every week, we know that, but as long as the process of what we are trying to do is correct, it will stand up to the test of time. We are very confident of that and for me, this is a great first building block we have put down.
“To be able to look back on this in weeks and years ahead and say ‘this is how we want to play four-day cricket’ and for the group to see it work so quickly is really pleasing.
“Holding your nerve on the field, off the field is very important. We were very disciplined across all three facets of the game which is where we need to be.”