Head Coach Alex Gidman says the Worcestershire players will be “desperate to bounce back” from the innings defeat by Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge and admitted, “we’ve got to look at ourselves and try and improve very quickly.”
Worcestershire were bowled out for 150 in their second innings and struggled to cope with the high-quality bowling of 10-wicket Luke Fletcher and England paceman Stuart Broad over the past two days.
It followed on from being on the receiving end of two similar superb performances in helpful conditions by Durham’s Mark Wood and Chris Rushworth in the setback at the Emirates Riverside a week ago.
Gidman said: “Obviously really disappointing to lose the match. It’s been a tough couple of days. We were miles off the pace on Saturday, which made it tough to wrestle back any momentum.
“I can’t fault the effort today to try and bat the day in very tough conditions to get the draw, but clearly, the damage was done Saturday, and we’ve got to look at ourselves and try and improve very quickly.
“We wanted to play as much as we could on that first day. We knew the weather forecast for day two wasn’t very good.
“When we bowled on Saturday, we didn’t get enough balls in the right place to build the pressure, which they did.
“We had a really positive lesson from Luke Fletcher’s accuracy in terms of what we need to try and do and get better at is to build pressure, pound away in a certain area, and it was a great example of high-class bowling on that evening.
“We just didn’t quite have the skill set to get through it on Saturday night, and that set up the pressure we were under on the last day.”
Regarding the challenges provided by the likes of Fletcher and Broad, Gidman said: “We know we’ve got to be at our absolute best to compete with these teams.
“We know man-for-man we are not as strong as them when we play against teams with three-four past, and present internationals in it’s a great challenge but a very tough challenge.
“The lads are trying ever so hard but, when we come against these guys at their absolute peak of their games in their own conditions, we are obviously just a little bit short.
“It is not through lack of effort or planning or preparation. These guys are high-quality performers, and they’ve been really, really good bowling attacks against us.
“We haven’t quite had the skill at this stage of our progress to match them.”
Jake Libby top-scored with 64, and Brett D’Oliveira (31) gave Worcestershire hope of salvaging a draw until his dismissal after nearly two hours at the wicket.
Gidman said: “Jake is becoming a really consistent performer. Again the conditions he batted in were very tough against the new ball.
“I thought Brett was outstanding, showed real fight and character, and he was absolutely distraught to get out.
“He felt he could have got us closer and closer to surviving the game, but one thing the batting group has done well is dove-tail through the whole season.
“Except for Jake, no one has had an exceptional year, but people have chipped in at the most important times.
“Brett was very close to doing that again for us today and didn’t quite get us over the line. It’s a team effort, and we just lacked a little bit more around him.”
The Worcestershire squad will have two days to recharge their batteries after three successive away games before preparing for Thursday’s home encounter with Derbyshire.
Gidman said: “It will be tough to pick them up so quickly. We knew this was going to be an extremely tough start to our cricket season.
“Confidence isn’t at its highest, as you’d expect, but equally, we know we are only a really good performance away from getting some momentum ourselves, which is what we need to try and find.
“Once we get that momentum, we know we are a dangerous team, so there is still plenty of cricket left in the first part of this competition.
“The lads are a very determined bunch. We are very realistic in what we know we can achieve, and the effort and attitude are never in question with this group.
“They are an outstanding bunch of cricketers and people, and they are hurting.
“They want to try and compete more than we have done in the last couple of weeks. I won’t lie; they are pretty weary.
“I know after a couple of days away, they will come back and be keen to put things right and desperate to bounce back.”