worcestershire fought back splendidly with the ball in the final session of a day which saw 20 wickets fall in the specsavers county championship encounter with gloucestershire at New Road.
adam finch (2), club captain joe leach (1) and charlie morris (1) reduced gloucestershire to 54-4 in pursuit of a 115 target.
ball dominated over bat all day and the home side bowled with great discipline and accuracy during a tense final two hours, restricting gloucestershire to less than two runs per over.
ed barnard had began the day by completing his first specsavers county championship five wicket haul of the campaign.
the all-rounder added three more scalps today to yesterday’s treble breakthrough and ended with excellent figures of 14.2-3-42-6 in gloucestershire’s first innings total of 235 – a lead of 14 runs.
it took his wicket tally for the campaign to 40 – the third campaign in a row the consistent barnard has reached that figure.
barnard also pulled off a fine catch to account for jack taylor as gloucestershire, who resumed on 87-4, slumped to 155-7 – still 66 in arrears.
ryan higgins and david payne counter-attacked during a partnership which produced 62 quickfire runs to earn the visitors their narrow first innings lead as worcestershire for a spell pre-lunch struggled to find the right line and length.
leach brought himself back into the attack and redressed the balance with two wickets in two balls.
higgins (42) nicked through to keeper ben cox via an inside edge onto his thigh pad and josh shaw (0) was bowled first ball.
shannon gabriel survived the hat-trick ball before barnard returned to the attack bowl payne (43) and wrap up the innings.
the early part of the morning session saw gareth roderick and ben charlesworth extend their fifth wicket stand to 72 in 24 overs.
roderick survived one confident lbw shout against charlie morris on 25.
barnard broke the stand when charlesworth (21) tried to work the ball through mid wicket and was lbw and then roderick (40) departed in a similar fashion to complete his five-for.
the england lions all-rounder then held onto a stinging catch at gulley off taylor (4) from the bowling of dillon pennington before higgins and payne launched the counter-attack.
when worcestershire batted for a second time, daryl mitchell (0) was trapped lbw with a delivery from payne which cut back sharply.
jack haynes made a breezy 20 but then was strangled down the leg side with keeper james bracey – substituting behind the stumps for the injured gareth roderick – taking a good catch away to his left after the ball had glanced off the face of the bat.
higgins made it two wickets in two deliveries as alex milton (0) went lbw after looking to work to leg.
riki wessels (5), who had top-scored with 72 in the first innings, was bowled via the inside edge by payne.
cox (1) was bowled by higgins after he had moved across his stumps and ed barnard (6) became the third leg before victim of the innings to josh shaw.
opener hamish rutherford battled away for 19 but was run out after a mix-up with skipper leach by chris dent’s direct hit.
dillon pennington (6) became former worcestershire paceman gabriel’s first victim since linking up with gloucestershire when also departing lbw.
leach (10) departed to the second ball after tea – caught at first slip off higgins – but then morris (29 not out) and finch added 38 runs for the final wicket.
worcestershire bowled with great discipline when gloucestershire set out in pursuit of their 115 target.
leach set the tone and in his third over james bracey (2) went for a drive and was caught behind with eight runs on the board.
it became 19-2 when morris accounted for tom smith (5) who was lbw.
finch then struck in successive overs as skipper chris dent (22) went lbw and gareth roderick (0) was pouched at second slip.
they will be striving for the same sort of performance tomorrow morning.