Worcestershire CCC Head Coach Alex Gidman praised Tom Fell’s “outstanding innings” in the win over Northamptonshire and said several members of the squad are now capable of occupying the crease for lengthy periods.
Fell made a superb 110 not out in bowler-friendly conditions as he converted several promising starts this season into a decisive contribution in Worcestershire’s 78 run win.
He batted for 339 minutes – a monumental effort on such a testing pitch when considering the next lengthiest knock in the game spanned 128 minutes by Riki Wessels for his fine first innings 88.
Daryl Mitchell, Jake Libby and Brett D’Oliveira have shown similar attributes during the campaign while Ben Cox, Jack Haynes and Ed Barnard have also been prepared to get their head down and graft at various times.
For a 19-year-old, Haynes showed a lot of maturity in scoring 38 and 32 against Northants as he recognised the need to stay out in the middle – contributions just as invaluable as higher scores on flatter pitches.
Gidman said: “In the context of this game, it was a huge innings by Tom. Individual performances were going to be key on this wicket and that really was an outstanding innings.
“Tom has worked so hard since November last year. He has put a massive shift in and, although he hadn’t had that (big) score yet, he had looked like getting it.
“He had occupied the crease and faced a lot of balls and has managed to stick to his plan and method which on a testing wicket against a good attack, and in the third innings, was massive.
“Jack Haynes also played two mature knocks in this game. He assessed the conditions and recognised that for him it was about trying to occupy the crease for as long as long as he could.
“It is something we’ve talked about all our batters trying to do, occupy the crease and face balls and see where that takes the whole group, in this game it paid off when we managed to keep Northants out in the field for 70 plus overs in the most important innings of the match.
“I feel we’ve got more players really capable of doing that at the crunch times and it is something we probably haven’t quite been able to do in the last few years.
“We’ve spoken about it, we’ve practiced hard to have the methods and the game plans behind trying to do it. It doesn’t just happen overnight. These guys have worked really hard.
“Yes, it is only three games but I think we can see the work they have put in coming through in the matches which is what we are all after.”
On the bowling front. Josh Tongue picked up six wickets for his second successive appearance and constantly troubled the Northamptonshire batsmen but once again all of the County attacked chipped in with important wickets.
Gidman said: “With Josh’s attributes, he really should be a handful on most wickets against most teams.
“We think he is an outstanding young bowler. He is tall, he has got pace, he can swing the ball away. He is not very nice to face.
“The wicket had enough in it for the bowlers throughout and I thought he was a consistent threat throughout the whole game.”
In terms of the whole game, Gidman said: “It was a good game of cricket again. Both teams tried really hard in testing conditions and obviously with the rain around the stoppages, I thought both teams acquitted themselves really well.
“We thought it was always going to be a tight game and the difference was going to be probably a couple of outstanding individual performances which fortunately for us in this game were on our side and managed to get us over the line.
“This was our biggest challenge so far, being away from home on a wicket very different to what we are used to playing on. We didn’t know what to expect but we adapted to conditions very well And quickly
“There were patches we weren’t completely happy with. However, I am not taking anything away from the outstanding effort over the four days and we deserved to win.”