Saturday, June 23rd, 2018

Head Coach Kevin Sharp: First Win “has Been Coming”

kevin sharp was delighted to see worcestershire secure their first specsavers county championship win of the season and he admitted: “i think it has been coming to be honest.”

the county came close to defeating somerset at the cooper associates county ground, taunton and essex at New Road and had the better of a drawn game with surrey at the kia oval.

but victory was today achieved over visiting lancashire by 202 runs (see separate story).

head coach sharp said: “i think it has been coming to be honest. i know we’ve documented the start of the season where we were so near and yet so far at times.

“i think since the poor defeat against notts, i felt we were getting nearer to a win. we went to surrey and played very well down there and had a very close encounter with esssex.

“the lads have been outstanding here. the pitch has got better and better the last couple of days. it has not done as much off the seam. there has been a lot of runs scored over the last couple of days.

“but the resilience and patience and character that they are showing is there to see so it’s a well deserved win.”

on the recovery from 81-5 in the first innings, sharp said: “we’re now able to overcome those types of situations.

“in my first season here, i can recall when i came in as batting coach, we had one or two tough days where we weren’t able to chase down a target or set a target.

“we lost two or three early wickets and we crumbled a bit but we’re able to overcome those types of situations now.

“there is a no fear culture here – no fear here but play with a responsibility and skill. that’s my philosophy on it.

“but i really do want these lads to express themselves and play in a way they can play and when you are in an environment where you can do that, it brings the best out of people. “

sharp added: “i’ve seen these lads grow in the five seasons i’ve been here.

“the majority of them are still young in age but they are not young in experience now. they’ve played a lot of cricket and are coming to the stage in their careers where they are really starting to understand their games.

“they are playing with some great responsibility and some great skill and all the energies and ground work that has gone in here at the club over the years is now definitely starting to pay dividends.”

on the batting of daryl mitchell, who scored two hundreds, and martin guptill – a century-maker on his debut – sharp said: “fantastic to watch, wasn’t it.

“we got about 120 runs in front on the first innings and to get going the way we did and score that many runs, particularly in the first 20 overs, gave us the momentum we needed to set such a formidable target.”

interim captain brett d’oliveira said: “the conditions got better to bat on. it did start to get a bit lower towards the end and we got a couple of lbws but overall it was a good wicket and they have some very good players, so it took everything to get those 10 wickets.

“pat brown getting keaton jennings out was crucial, a moment that stands out among several outstanding performances and with ed (barnard), it was a real challenge for him in that second innings and he really did work hard and deserved the rewards he got.

“i’m proud of the players. we have been in good positions in a couple of games and haven’t quite done it so it feels good to have rammed home our advantage this time.

“they have shown resilience and fight. a couple of years ago at 81-5 we might have crumbled but this time we showed we could fight back.”