Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019


Worcestershire hauled themselves right back into contention on the third day of the Specsavers County Championship encounter with Gloucestershire after a disciplined performance by their attack at Cheltenham.

Wayne Parnell picked up three wickets and Ed Barnard (2) and Club Captain Joe Leach, Dillon Pennington and Brett D’Oliveira with one apiece helped reduced Gloucestershire to 149-8 by the close – a lead of 210.

It followed on from a defiant last wicket partnership of 47 between Leach and Adam Finch which restricted the home side’s first innings advantage to 61 runs.

There is still some assistance for the seamers at the College Ground on a day which produced 211 runs for 12 wickets off 94 overs.

The County will now look to polish off the Gloucestershire innings in quickfire time tomorrow and push for the victory which would put them firmly back into the hunt for promotion.

Worcestershire resumed on 232-6 from 83 overs with D’Oliveira unbeaten on 66 and Parnell 10 not out.

Parnell (17) was dismissed in the fifth over of the day when he drove at Ethan Bamber and was caught behind.

Leach turned David Payne off his legs to the boundary to get off the mark.

D’Oliveira’s fine knock ended in Bamber’s next over on 68 with Miles Hammond pouching the opportunity at second slip.

Payne claimed the 250th first class wicket of his career when Pennington (1) was lbw at 246-9 after looking to work the ball to leg.

But then Leach and Finch joined forces and defied the Gloucestershire attack for 22 overs in adding 47 valuable runs.

Leach leg glanced Bamber for four to bring up the 250 and a second batting bonus point for Worcestershire and he lofted the same bowler back down the ground to the boundary.

Finch was hit on the helmet and struck on the body by Payne but got off the mark with a square drive for four off the same bowler.

Leach tried to stay on strike for the bulk of the stand and had moved onto 38 when he played onto Ryan Higgins for 38 from 93 balls and containing seven fours.

Finch played his full part in defying Gloucestershire for 52 deliveries in scoring eight not out.

Leach was straight back into action with the new ball after lunch and in his first over Chris Dent (0) pushed forward and was caught behind.

Parnell bowled Gareth Roderick (12) with a delivery which kept low and Miles Hammond (17) went lbw to Ed Barnard.

It became 47-4 when wicket-keeper James Bracey (16) played onto Parnell.

Ryan Higgins repeated his first innings fluency and his half century partnership with Tom Smith came up in 11 overs.

But Pennington broke the stand after it was worth 56 when Higgins (36) slashed at a delivery and Riki Wessels held onto the chance after Cox had dived across him.

Worcestershire’s bowlers kept a tight rein on the Gloucestershire batsmen after tea with the first 10 overs yielding just 13 runs.

Parnell returned to the attack and enjoyed a third success with Smith (25) finding the hands of Wessels, again at first slip.

The usual aggressive Jack Taylor and Benny Howell got their heads down as Worcestershire searched for more breakthroughs.

Taylor (20) eventually sucumbed to the Cox-Barnard combination at 143-7 and Howell (4) drilled D’Oliveira to Parnell at mid on shortly before rain ended play for the day.