Tuesday, March 26th, 2024


Matthew Waite and Adam Finch came through their first Worcestershire action since missing the end of last season through injury during the two-day friendly with Hampshire at the Utilita Bowl.

Waite delivered a total of 14 overs and picked up two wickets in addition to making a sizeable contribution with the bat on his return from a groin injury.

Finch was able to send down a total of 10 overs, including nine on day one, before rain curtailed his spell on day two after one over.

He was absent from the final third of the season with a back injury but launched his rehabilitation playing grade cricket in Australia for Sturt CC from January onwards.

With Joe Leach also able to bowl 15 overs after his knee operation in January, it was a positive outcome in terms of building up fitness for the 2024 Vitality County Championship campaign.

Conditions were weighed heavily in favour of the bowlers on day one when Worcestershire batted first against the Kookaburra ball which was being used in preparation for the opening two Championship matches away to Warwickshire and Nottinghamshire.

Ethan Brookes made his first appearance in Worcestershire’s colours since signing a two year contract and returning from a successful winter of club cricket with Prahran CC in Australia.

The opening day’s play saw both sides batting for 45 overs apiece irrespective of the number of wickets which fell and batters could have more than one knock.

Jake Libby, who was captaining Worcestershire, did the bulk of the early scoring and made 25 off 35 balls with four boundaries before he was bowled by a delivery which jagged back from Brad Wheal.

Wickets fell at regular intervals in the helpful conditions but Waite produced some excellent aggression in his second knock.

He raced to 43 not out from just 21 balls in an innings reminiscent of his two half centuries against Gloucestershire at Cheltenham in the County Championship.

Waite picked up three fours in an over from James Fuller and struck Wheal over the mid-wicket boundary to bring up the 100.

He then pulled Fuller for another maximum to complete a half century stand with Brookes who played the supporting role.

Worcestershire reached 116-11 in their 45 overs during a three hour opening session.

When Hampshire batted, Leach and left armer Ben Gibbon shared the new ball.

Gibbon made the initial breakthrough when new Hampshire signing, Ali Orr (5), was bowled with a delivery angled into the left hander.

Runs were again hard to come by against an accurate attack and the first seven overs yielded only seven runs.

Leach was rewarded when a delivery of extra bounce trimmed the bails of Fletcha Middleton (0).

Gibbon accounted for another left hander when Nick Gubbins (13) offered no stroke and was bowled.

After a trio of players retired not out, Finch struck shortly before the close on 141-4 from 45 overs when Ben Brown (14) was lbw to a full length delivery.

The two teams were scheduled to repeat the 45 overs per side formula on day two with Hampshire batting first after winning the toss.

But only 23 overs were possible before rain led to proceedings being abandoned with the home side 95-1.

Waite made the breakthrough for Worcestershire after coming on first change when Middleton (11) was lbw.

The Day 1 and Day 2 scorecards can be viewed by clicking the links attached.