Wednesday, March 24th, 2021


Worcestershire CCC struck back strongly with the ball as 20 wickets fell in seamer-friendly bowling conditions on the opening day of the pre-season encounter with Durham UCCE at Kidderminster.

Gareth Roderick top-scored with 30 for the home side, who were bowled out for 150 in 44.2 overs after being put in to bat.

But then Worcestershire CCC Club Captain Joe Leach and Dillon Pennington made sizeable inroads – as was the case against Somerset at Taunton – with seven wickets between them as Durham were bowled out for 92 in 37 overs.

Leach finished with figures of 5-2-13-3 and Pennington 9-3-11-4.
Worcestershire are playing at Chester Road for the first time since the outbreak of COVID-19 12 months ago, having practiced there for the past fortnight.

Worcestershire batted first on a greenish Chester Road wicket, with openers Daryl Mitchell and Jake Libby experiencing their first innings of 2021.

Mitchell got off the mark with a boundary backward of point from the third delivery of the day from Alex Russell.

But Russell was rewarded for a tight opening spell of 5-3-6-1 when he trapped Libby lbw for three.

The scoreboard was kept ticking along with the aid of 12 runs conceded in no-balls during the first 12 overs – and 26 in total.

Mitchell had accumulated a patient 19 from 54 balls when he was bowled by Michael Booth.

Brett D’Oliveira, in what was also his first pre-season knock, survived one chance to the slips before he was leg before to Dominic Stuart for 17.

Newcomer Roderick, fresh from his half-century against Somerset, hit five fours in an unbeaten 24 as Worcestershire reached 87-3 from 30 overs by lunch.

Russell returned to the attack immediately after the resumption and struck four times in the space of 17 deliveries.

Ben Cox, the fourth Worcestershire player experiencing their first innings of 2021, was caught behind down the legside for four.

Having made an accomplished 30, Roderick edged Russell to second slip, and only one run was added before Ross Whiteley was bowled for a duck.
Russell’s five-for was completed when Alex Milton, having made a breezy 13, went lbw at 113-7.

Russell, who has played Minor Counties cricket for Berkshire plus a handful of games for Glamorgan Seconds, then had figures of 9.1-3-16-5.

Dillon Pennington (12) was caught behind off Ollie Sheen before Booth wrapped up the innings.

Charlie Morris (0) became the fourth lbw victim, and Leach hit the only six of the innings over long-off, holed out to mid-on for 19.

Russell finished with 5-24 and Booth 3-16.

Leach and Pennington shared the new ball and were soon amongst the wickets.

Opener Joe Cracknell (5) and Chris Benjamin (0) fell lbw in the space of three balls to Leach in his second over.

Pennington accounted for the other opener in Sam Perry (1), who was caught behind by Cox.

The Worcestershire keeper then dived away to his right to hold onto a nick by Tom Price (3) to give Leach his third scalp with the total 10-4.

Tea was taken at 20-4, and the wickets continued to tumble during the final session. Morris came into the attack and bowled both Ollie Price (16) and Lewis Bedford (1) during a spell of 7-2-15-2.

Adam Finch enjoyed his first success when Charlie Scott (21) edged to Mitchell at second slip.

Pennington returned to have Booth (12) caught by Libby at extra cover before, and three balls later, Russell (0) was leg before. The paceman wrapped up proceedings when Sheen (1) was pouched at first slip by Whiteley.