Thursday, April 19th, 2018

Ed Looking To Surpass 2017 Form And Help County Establish Top Flight Spot

Ed Barnard wants to better last season’s fine personal achievements with bat and ball – but the Worcestershire all-rounder says establishing a spot in Division One is more important.

Barnard was voted the Worcestershire Supporters’ Association Player Of The Year after polling 50 per cent of the votes.

He picked up 47 wickets and scored nearly 600 runs in the Specsavers County Championship.

Now the former England Under-19 player wants to kick on with his team-mates as the County look to cement a place in the top flight.

They take on Somerset at the Cooper Associates County Ground starting tomorrow, looking to bounce back from the opening game defeat against Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl.

Barnard, who scored an impressive 40 in an eighth wicket stand of 76 with Ben Cox in that game, said: “It couldn’t really have gone much better for me personally last season. I achieved everything I set out to achieve last year so I was really happy with that.

“But obviously I can’t rest on my laurels now.

“I want to kick on again and to better both of those stats would be nice but more importantly we need to make sure we keep Worcestershire in the division and finish as high as we can in Division One.

“It is always nice to get those individual accolades but the most important thing is the team and seeing where we can finish up.

“We’ve got a very exciting side and it is very exciting times to see where we can push and finish in this division.”

Barnard and his team-mates are looking to impress when they tackle the international players who will be their opponents in Division One.

He said: “Now we are in Division One, we are going to play against teams that have two, three, four, five international players at least and they are the teams you want to play against and impress against.

“If you play well against those sort of players and those sort of teams, then you really get noticed, not only personally but as a team as well.

“If we can win those games, it will gain us some great respect around the country.”

Worcestershire came flying out of the blocks last season with four successive Championship wins and Barnard says early season momentum will be crucial as they look to bounce back from the Hampshire reversal.

He said: “If we can hit get a good couple of results early on, that will set us up and give us that confidence to kick on and hopefully get on a bit of a roll.

“If you look at our side, we are a results side. We do win a lot of games. That should go our way in Division One but maybe the cricket can be slightly different at times in Division One.

“Teams at times are more patient and happy to take it to the fourth day to try and get a result so we’ve got to make sure we hang on in the games, remain patient and take our opportunities when they come along.”