Thursday, May 11th, 2023


Worcestershire returned to LV=Insurance County Championship action against Glamorgan at Sophia Gardens and experienced a challenging time for the majority of the opening day before fighting back in the final session.

They were put in and dismissed for 109 in 40.3 overs to a mixture of good new ball bowling by Michael Neser and Timm van der Gugten in helpful conditions, some razor-sharp slip fielding and a couple of loose shots.

Gareth Roderick top-scored with 39 on the ground where he achieved an excellent century last summer.

He was supported down the order by Matthew Waite and Joe Leach in stands of 34 and 38 for the seventh and eighth wickets.

Batting did not look a straightforward business but Worcestershire initially found it difficult to establish the same control with the ball with the exception of Leach who struck two blows before tea.

It was a different story after the interval with Glamorgan made to work hard for runs and Waite dismissing star Australian batter Marnus Labuschagne.

Glamorgan closed the day on 177/6.

Worcestershire made two changes from the side which had drawn with Sussex at New Road.

Opener Jake Libby was ruled out with a back spasm and Taylor Cornall came in for his first senior appearance of the season.

Adam Finch replaced fellow pace bowler, Ben Gibbon, who had played in the opening four Championship matches of the season and was rested-rotated.

Finch had previously featured in the drawn game at Durham when he bowled an excellent 10 opening spell which brought him two wickets.

Batting was immediately a challenge against the new ball attack of Neser and van der Gugten on a dark coloured surface.

Ed Pollock drilled van der Gugten through the covers for the first boundary of the innings.

But Cornall (6) was trapped lbw by van der Gugten and Pollock (10) went for an attacking drive and fell to a tumbling catch by David Lloyd at first slip.

Jack Haynes (0) fell to a juggling catch by Sam Northeast at third slip in the same over from a Neser outswinger.

Azhar Ali (8), the century-maker hero against Sussex, was also on the receiving end of a superb catch, this time by Labuschagne low down at second slip from the bowling of van der Gugten.

Club Captain Brett D’Oliveira (0) was lbw to Neser and Adam Hose (0) went to drive the first delivery from James Harris and inside edged onto his stumps.

Roderick produced one of the strokes of the morning with a cover drive to the boundary at Neser’s expense.

The keeper-batter and Matthew Waite saw Worcestershire through to 66-6 from 28 overs at lunch.

A superb in-swinging delivery from Neser bowled Waite for 22 in the first over after lunch.

Roderick was joined by Leach and the pair scored at a fluent rate during the early part of the afternoon session.

Roderick clipped Neser off his toes through mid-wicket and cover drove van der Gugten for impressive boundaries. 

Leach (16) was unfortunate to be caught down the legside off Harris and Roderick’s 80 ball knock ended when he pushed forward to the same bowler and edged to second slip where Labuschagne snapped up another sharp low chance.

Finch (0) went leg before working to leg to his first delivery from Harris.

Worcestershire went looking for early wickets and Lloyd survived a chance to second slip in Leach’s first over before he had scored.

But the pace bowler struck in the same over when Ed Byrom (0) pushed at a fine delivery across him and Roderick made no mistake behind the stumps.

Leach bowled a good opening spell of 1-12 from five overs but runs otherwise flowed freely and the half century came up from 53 balls.

The return of Leach brought about a second wicket just before tea when Lloyd (48) went for a drive and had his off stump disturbed after adding 81 with Labuschagne.

Worcestershire bowled a better line and length when the players returned for the final session.

The scoring rate virtually dried up for a spell before Waite picked up the prized wicket of Labuschagne for 42.

He bowled the Australian with a fine delivery and was ecstatic at making an important breakthrough.

There was more joy for Worcestershire when Sam Northeast looked to work Finch on the legside and was lbw for nine.

It meant three wickets had gone down for just 23 runs and a reward for bowling straight and giving nothing away.

The Pears picked up another three wickets before Billy Root and Michael Neser rallied to see the hosts through to the close.