head coach alex gidman says worcestershire ccc “are there on merit” in the battle to earn a lord’s final spot as they gear up for the bob willis trophy central group decider with somerset at New Road starting today. (10.30am start).
the county are currently lying in second spot behind somerset and victory for either side will put them in strong contention to reach the five-day final beginning on wednesday, september 23.
both counties will be defending unbeaten records in the competition with worcestershire having defeated gloucestershire at bristol and northamptonshire at wantage road in addition to drawing the high-scoring home fixtures with glamorgan and warwickshire.
gidman is confident the worcestershire squad will be able to make the adjustment back to playing four-day cricket after the focus on and challenges of preparing for five fixtures – one of which was subsequently abandoned – in the vitality blast during the past nine days.
he said: “is it a challenge to shift the mindset? i don’t think so in this sense because i know the guys are really excited about sunday. i know they are extremely motivated about the game. i don’t think that should be so hard now.
“we had a small group who were back at (blackfinch) new road training on friday against the red ball while we were down at bristol in the t20.
“balancing the preparation (for both competitions) has been hard. we’ve paid full attention to the t20 competition with equally one eye on sunday as well.
“it has been tricky but it’s exciting to be still involved in a very competitive part of that competition (bob willis trophy). it is a big game and it’s nice to be in big games, for the last 3 seasons now the players have been in the hunt for trophies in different formats and that shouldn’t be forgotten, its nice to be speaking about being in big games.
“the players deserve to be there. they haven’t fluked their way there. they thoroughly deserve to be in that position and i’m sure everyone is looking forward to it.
“somerset are a very good team and in first class cricket over the last five or six years they’ve been an experienced and very impressive unit without a shadow of a doubt.
“but we’ve put a lot of work into our red ball cricket, which has shown, so we will approach that game full of confidence, enjoy it, and hopefully have a successful week.”
worcestershire club captain joe leach is also relishing the fixture against somerset and looking for a repeat of the form shown in the opening four games.
he said: “somerset look a very good side and have played exceptional cricket. their bowling in particular looks like it has been very strong.
“but it is a challenge we are going to have to meet head-on. obviously they’ve hovered at the top of division one in the county championship for a little while now.
“but i don’t think that should frighten us. they are coming to our ground and if we impose the kind of game we’ve produced over the last four games onto them, then it should be a very good game of cricket.”
ben cox (w)
joe leach ©
central group table
somerset played 4, won 3, lost 0, drawn 1, points 76 net run rate 0.109
worcestershire 4, 2, 0, 2, 70 -3.403
warwickshire 4, 0, 1, 3, 42, 0.00
northamptonshire 4, 1, 2, 1, 39, 10.777
gloucestershire 4, 1, 2, 1, 37, 2.699
glamorgan 4, 0, 2, 2, 31, 2.234