Monday, March 29th, 2021


Ben Cox scored an aggressive half-century before the Worcestershire CCC bowlers struck back on the pre-season game’s opening day with Somerset at Taunton.

The wicket-keeper batsman reached a 54 ball fifty in the highlight performance of the Worcestershire first innings total of 116 all out in 35.4 overs.

Cox then took two fine catches as the Worcestershire attack made inroads at regular intervals, with Club Captain Joe Leach enjoying a treble success as Somerset closed on 156-8.

A total of 18 wickets fell in the day for 272 runs off 81.4 overs.

Somerset put Worcestershire into bat, and Daryl Mitchell got off the mark with a back-foot drive square of the wicket off Josh Davey.

Batting was a challenge despite the sunshine, and Jake Libby (0) was trapped lbw by Sonny Baker.

Mitchell (13) looked surprised to be given out caught behind by Jamie Baird off Davey.

Tom Fell (1) was lbw to a ball of full length from Lewis Gregory, and a delivery from Baker swung back sharply to account for Brett D’Oliveira (0) leg before.

Jack Haynes (12) flicked at a legside delivery from Gregory, which resulted in an excellent one-handed catch by Baird.

Riki Wessels, a century-maker in the two-day game with Somerset earlier in the month, struck three boundaries, including a handsome cover drive off Ned Leonard.

But on 12, he tried to cut a shortish delivery from the same bowler and provided Baird with another catch.

Cox immediately looked full of positive intent and collected two boundaries in the space of three balls from Baker via a legside glance and a pull through mid-wicket.

He also got into position to hoist Jack Brooks over the deep mid-wicket boundary.

Ed Barnard (2) helped him added 26 before hammering Tom Abell straight to point, and then, in the first over after lunch, Leach (0) top-edged Davey straight to mid-on.

Cox was given good support by Charlie Morris on his way to an excellent half-century completed with a quick single off Baker onto the legside.

He added one more run before lbw to Baker to end a stand of 36 with Morris, who, after striking four boundaries in his 17, edged Davey to first slip to complete the innings.

Leach shared the new ball with Morris, who made the first Worcestershire breakthrough with the last ball of the fourth over.

Eddie Byrom on 11 attempted to flick Morris off his legs and perished to a comfortable catch by Libby.

It was not long before Leach was also amongst the wickets as Tom Banton (14) went lbw to a ball which jagged back in after aiming towards the legside.

Abell and Lewis Goldsworthy saw Somerset to 63-2 at tea when the Worcestershire bowling figures were: Leach 6-2-21-1, Morris 4-0-18-1, Barnard 4-3-3-0 and Finch 3-0-21-0.

Barnard was rewarded as soon as the final session got underway as Abell (20) edged a ball that moved and left him and Cox took a fine low catch to his right.

Finch picked up his first scalp when Will Smeed (12) could only chop a testing delivery onto his stumps at 76-4.

Cox again excelled with another tumbling catch to dispose of Lewis Goldsworthy (30) to give Morris his second wicket.

Worcestershire continued to chip away, and Leach came back into the attack and tempted Lewis Gregory (32) to chip a catch to Morris at mid-on before having Roelof van der Merwe (22) plumb lbw.

There was a late wicket for spin as Sam Young (6) was deceived by D’Oliveira’s quicker ball and went leg before.

Leach finished with figures of 12-3-46-3, Morris 9-1-40-2, Barnard 11-4-18-1, Finch 8-2-39-1 and D’Oliveira 6-4-9-1.