Sunday, August 2nd, 2020

DEBUTANT JAKE AND DARYL SPARKLE WITH BAT FOR WORCESTERSHIRE

Debutant Jake Libby and fellow opener Daryl Mitchell dominated proceedings with the bat for Worcestershire CCC on day two of the Bob Willis Trophy encounter against Gloucestershire at Bristol.

The new combination batted splendidly to give Worcestershire the ideal launchpad, after dismissing Gloucestershire for 267, with a partnership of 152 in 50 overs.

Libby showed his quality in making a composed 77 in his first competitive match since signing from Nottinghamshire on a three-year contract last winter.

Mitchell (80) continued in the same vein as his impressive pre-season form as he and Libby laid the foundations for what Worcestershire will hope to be a formidable total tomorrow (Monday).

Tom Fell (32 not out) and Jack Haynes (20 not out) added an unbroken 43 in 19 overs as Worcestershire closed the day on 223-2 from 82 overs with still 38 of the maximum 120 overs permitted in the first innings remaining.

Worcestershire quickly polished off the Gloucestershire first innings after the home side had resumed on 246-8 from 91 overs.

Josh Tongue struck in the first over of the day with keeper Ben Cox pulling off an excellent catch diving low to his right after Josh Shaw had edged a delivery.

Gareth Roderick, who is joining Worcestershire on a three-year contract from November, showed plenty of attacking intent.

But the innings was wrapped up with the second over after the second new ball was taken as Matt Taylor (1) provided Cox with his fourth catch.

It meant that Worcestershire had claimed the last eight Gloucestershire wickets for 62 runs in 26 overs. Roderick, who is keeping wicket, remained unbeaten on 25.

Morris finished with figures of 22.3-6-52-4, Tongue 21-3-75-3, Brett Dโ€™Oliveira 17-1-57-2, Joe Leach 19-4-48-1 and Ed Barnard 17-6-32-0.

Mitchell and Libby launched the Worcestershire reply and there were cheers for the latter from his team-mates when he slashed a wide ball from Ryan Higgins to the boundary for his first runs for the County.

Both of the batsmen looked in good touch and came through the new ball bursts from David Payne and Ryan Higgins unscathed.

Mitchell greeted the arrival of Matt Taylor into the attack with three successive boundaries in his first over and cut Tom Price for four to bring up the 50 in the 16th over.

Worcestershire went into lunch on 67-0 from 23 overs with Mitchell unbeaten on 40 and Libby 22 not out.

The partnership continued to flourish after the resumption and Libby clipped Payne off his legs to the boundary before Mitchell completed an excellent half century with a single off the same bowler.

It contained nine fours and came off 101 balls.

Mitchell and Libby looked composed in combating all that Gloucestershire threw at them in an attempt to make a breakthrough.

A four down to third man by Mitchell off the returning Higgins brought up the hundred partnership in the 37th over and was warmly applauded from the balcony by all of the squad and coaches.

The reaction was even more vociferous when Libby went to his maiden half century with three boundaries in an over from Higgins on his return to the attack. It came off 117 balls with seven fours.

The stand was worth a splendid 152 before Mitchell on 80 (161 balls, 13 fours) went to pull Price and bottom edged the ball onto his stumps.

By tea Libby had advanced onto 66 and new batsman Tom Fell six out of 161-1 from 53 overs.

Libbyโ€™s excellent knock ended on 77 when he nicked a delivery angled across him by Payne with Gloucestershire skipper Chris Dent holding onto the chance low at first slip.

The 27-year-old can feel proud of his debut knock spanning 181 balls and containing 10 fours.

Gloucestershire bowled a tight line in the final session which produced 62 runs from 29 overs.

But Fell and Haynes steered Worcestershire to a first batting point when reaching 200-2 in the 72nd over.