Wednesday, March 31st, 2021

COUNTY ATTACK PROVIDES SEARCHING EXAMINATION AT TAUNTON

Worcestershire CCCโ€™s four-pronged pace attack asked searching questions of Somersetโ€™s batting line-up throughout the final day of the pre-season match at Taunton.

Club captain Joe Leach, Charlie Morris, Ed Barnard and Adam Finch posed constant problems and made their opponents fight all the way to reach their target of 171 and an eventual three-wicket success.

It was an excellent work-out, and with a competitive edge to proceedings, with the opening County Championship match with reigning champions Essex eight days away.

Worcestershire will now travel to Canterbury for their final pre-season game, a two-day fixture versus Kent beginning on Friday.

The morning session yielded just 74 runs from 28 overs and three wickets, and an indication of the accuracy of the bowling was that opener Ed Byrom scored only 14 runs during those two hours.

Morris and Leach shared the attack after Somerset resumed on 6-0 from three overs.

Morris conceded two boundaries to Tom Banton through mid-wicket in his first over of the day but had his revenge in the next when the opener on 12 shouldered arms and lost his off stump.

Leach was unfortunate with successive deliveries angled across Ed Byrom, which he played and missed at.

Barnard maintained the pressure after he replaced Morris and his first three overs were maidens, and he also troubled Byrom with the ball moving across the left-hander.

Finch came on for Leach after a testing six-over spell, and he was rewarded with his second delivery.

Abell (16) was undone by a ball of extra bounce and edged through to keeper Ben Cox.

The first hour produced just 28 runs from 14 overs and two wickets, and there was an intensity about proceedings despite it being a warm-up fixture.

Goldsworthy went for a pull and top-edged a short Finch delivery over keeper Cox and the slips for a fortuitous boundary.

But Finch was rewarded later in the same over when a Goldsworthy (16) flashing drive bottom edged through to Cox with the total 53-3 in the 21st over.

Finch made way for Daryl Mitchell after a five-over spell as Somerset reached 80-3 off 31 overs by lunch.

Leach had figures of 8-3-15-0, Morris 9-2-27-1, Barnard 6-4-11-0, Finch 5-1-15-2 and Mitchell 3-0-12-0.

Barnard and Leach came back into the attack, and the latter had Will Smeed (25) caught behind in his first over after the resumption.

There was a deserved first breakthrough for Barnard when Byrom (17) was bowled behind his legs at 97-5.

Brett Dโ€™Oliveira then produced a superb diving catch running back from mid-off after Lewis Gregory (16) tried to loft Leach over the top.

New batsman Sam Young survived a chance before he had scored off Barnard with the total 107-6.

Roelof van der Merwe and Young (15) put together a stand of 54 before the latter holed out to Dโ€™Oliveira at mid-wicket off Barnard.

Van der Merwe went onto make an unbeaten half-century as the game ended shortly before tea.

Leach ended with figures of 15-4-45-2, Morris 15-3-42-1, Barnard 12.2-2-32-2, Finch 10-1-40-2 and Mitchell 3-0-12-0.