Bowling hero Ed Barnard says Worcestershire CCC’s batsman are capable of emulating the achievements of Somerset century-maker Tom Lammonby as the Bob Willis Trophy top of the table encounter heads for a thrilling climax at Blackfinch New Road.
Barnard’s 4-25 from 17 overs helped to dismiss Somerset for 193 in their second innings to leave Worcestershire requiring a 245 target.
They will need a further 187 runs for victory with eight wickets in hand after ending day three on 58-2 with Tom Fell and Jack Haynes at the crease when bad light halted play early.
Lammonby showed it was possible to bat for long periods of time on a wicket still offering encouragement to the seamers in making an undefeated 107.
Barnard said: “It has been a good cricket wicket so far and players have shown that if you get in, you can bat on it.
“I thought Tom Lammonby produced a very impressive innings but there does always seem to be a ball in it if you keep it in the right areas and I thought we were exceptional today from ball one.
“We stacked up really well, we kept the economy rate around two an over all day and I thought the lads were all brilliant.
“In that situation, and the whole pressure of the game, it is a very impressive knock from him (Lammonby).
“But I don’t see why our lads can’t do the same now and it gives us hope you can bat on it for a long period of time once you get in.
“It is always hard chasing a reasonable total but I thought it was really good the way we got through tonight.
“It was a really important period and we didn’t lose too many wickets. Obviously, it did quite a bit and the ball was seaming around a lot with the hard new ball.
“But we’ve managed to get through nearly 30 overs and only lost two wickets. I think it sets it up really nicely for tomorrow.”
Barnard admitted: “The first hour will be huge. If we can get through that, hopefully unscathed, then it will set it up really nicely and hopefully we can kick on and the lads can get big scores.”
Somerset had resumed on 16-1 this morning and found it hard work to add to their tally against a fired-up Worcestershire attack.
Club Captain Joe Leach immediately set the tone by having Tom Abell (7) caught behind from a fifth ball of the day outswinger – his 19th victim in the competition.
Josh Tongue, who suffered a back spasm on the first day, shared the opening attack bowling off a shorter run from the Diglis End and bowled seven tight overs for nine runs.
The opening 45 minutes produced only four singles, a testimony to the accuracy of the bowling, before Barnard made a double breakthrough after replacing Leach who had the excellent figures of 11-7-12-2.
George Bartlett (2) tried to work the ball to leg and was trapped lbw and Eddie Byrom (12) fell in the same manner after aiming a shot through mid-wicket.
Brett D’Oliveira came into the attack and former Worcestershire wicket-keeper Steve Davies (14) paid the price for attempting an extravagant hit and was bowled.
It became two wickets in two overs for D’Oliveira as Craig Overton (2) played back and was bowled.
Somerset lunched on 90-6 but Lewis Gregory (17) and Josh Davey (21) provided staunch support to Lammonnby during partnerships of 39 and 54 respectively
Gregory eventually perished to a fine catch by Jake Libby running back from cover off Dillon Pennington.
Lammonby completed an excellent century but another superb catch – this time by sub fielder Josh Dell at mid wicket – brought about Davey’s downfall off Barnard.
The innings was quickly wrapped up with Jack Leach (5) lbw to Barnard and Jack Brooks (1) caught behind off Pennington.
Lammonby ended undefeated on 107 from 220 balls with three sixes and 12 fours.
Barnard’s four wickets lifted his Trophy tally to 18 while Leach had figures of 19-11-24-2, Pennington 13.4-1-57-2, Tongue 12-4-28-0 and D’Oliveira 9-1-54-2.
When Worcestershire launched their reply, Daryl Mitchell and Libby combated some accurate bowling from the new ball attack of Overton and Davey.
Mitchell (3) was bowled by a delivery from Gregory which came back into the right hander and kept slightly low.
Libby started to accelerate, turning Overton off his legs for four and then picking up two boundaries in an over from Gregory.
He was only two runs short of 500 in the competition when he was bowled off the inside edge by Gregory for 23 with the total on 30.
Fell and Haynes batted with confidence in adding an unbroken 28 to set up the possibility of a thrilling finale.