Sunday, August 28th, 2016

Joe Determined To End Season On A High After Again Topping 50 Wicket Mark

Joe Determined To End Season On A High After Again Topping 50 Wicket Mark

Joe Leach has revealed his determination to end the season on a high note after topping the 50 wicket mark in County Championship cricket for the second successive season.

The all-rounder finished the 2015 campaign with 59 wickets in the competition and was voted the county's Players' Player Of The Year.

His efforts this summer have been even more meritorious given the flatter nature of pitches around the country after the introduction of the new 'toss' rule.

But Leach is concious his tally of wickets dried up in the finale to the season 12 months ago – and he is aiming to ensure there is no repeat.

On reaching 50 wickets, Leach said: "It has been pleasing I suppose. I've had to bowl my overs to get them this time as well.

"It's small reward for what has been a hard year for us bowlers.

"I want to push on and get 60-70 wickets because if you remember last year I tailed off a bit and I want to make sure that doesn't happen.

"I've got to keep ploughing on."

Leach has played every competitive game this summer in all formats and Essex's Graham Napier is the only bowler to have sent down more overs in Division Two of the Championship.

He was only stood down from duty for the two-day non first class fixture with Pakistan at the end of July.

But the 25-year-old says he will never ask to be rested and is quick to pay testament to the work of strengthening and conditioning coach Ross Dewar and first team physiotherapist Ben Davies for staying fit.

Leach said: "For bowlers and all-rounders in particular, it is a hard old slog and that has been as pleasing as the wickets itself, that I've managed to keep myself on the park.

"I've just missed the Pakistan game through being rested but apart fro that I've been available all season and that is a credit to Dewsy and Ben, their support, and also the work we've done in the winter.

"I think I've bowled more overs than virtually anyone in the Championship so that is testament to them.

"We do the work every winter. It's about getting reconditioned and without that, it would be more or less impossible to keep going the way we do.

"To keep getting rolled out over all the formats, is hard on the body but I wouldn't want to have it any other way.

"I don't want to miss games of cricket and it's enabled me to do things like getting 50 wickets with still a few games to go and long may it continue.

"I don't want to rest. At the start of my career, I had to fight really hard for the opportuities to get into the side and fight for my career really.

"Now I've got that chance, I certainly won't be asking for one. If I get told to have one, that's something a bit different at times. I certainly would never be a person to ask for a rest."