Friday, May 19th, 2023


Joe Leach says dependable and reliable performers like fellow Worcestershire all-rounder Matthew Waite are “absolute gold dust” over the course of a six-month county season.

Waite returned his best bowling figures in the LV=Insurance County Championship of 4-21 on day two of the LV=Insurance County Championship encounter with Leicestershire at New Road.

He has consistently made contributions with bat and ball since joining Worcestershire, initially on loan and then on a permanent basis.

Waite and Leach, with the 16th five-for of his career, were largely responsible for Worcestershire bowling out Leicestershire for 180 in their second innings to keep alive their victory hopes.

Leach said: “Matty (Waite) is a consistent performer, he’s a good pro, he turns up every day and you know what you are going to get.

“Those kind of players are absolute gold dust over the course of a first class season.

“He has started exceptionally well. The hundred in the first game (against Derbyshire) obviously helps. 

“With the ball by his own admission, he’s probably been off for a couple of games but the last two or three games, he has been exceptional.

“People who can contribute in all facets, with bat and ball, they are absolutely vital, and he has settled in extremely well.

“He is a great character to have in the dressing room and really enjoy having him around.”

Adam Finch also continued his impressive form with the ball without having the tangible rewards his performance deserved.

Leach said: “Can’t speak highly enough of his impact since he has come back into the side. He has looked first-rate.

“His spell on Friday evening of five or six overs was as good as it gets at this level and I hope, and I’m sure he will take a lot of confidence from that, and rewards will continue to come for him.”

Leach was delighted with the character shown by Worcestershire to fight back into the game after a challenging opening day.

He said: “Twenty-four hours ago, and given what happened in that evening session, to be stood here now with a chance is probably the best we could have hoped for from the day.

“Probably, on balance, as good a day as we could have hoped for in isolation and roll on Saturday and let’s see what we can do.

“Thursday night was tough. There is no shirking the facts. A lot of the guys in the dressing were aware of that and are desperate to put that right.

“You saw that kind of character and fight in the way we bowled. Everyone has played their part, and as a fielding group, I thought we were outstanding and scrapped for every run.

“I don’t think it is necessarily right to forget about what happened on Thursday but we are also in the midst of a game, and our job now is to make sure that doesn’t define the game.

“It’s a wicket that at times has been challenging to bat on, but, if I’m honest, both sides have bowled really well up to this point, and both batting groups have probably been slightly below par.

“But that’s the game. We’ve had bowlers explore batters’ techniques, and the wicket has played a part. There is assistance for the seamers in particular, but I don’t think the 270 chase is insurmountable by any stretch if we get a couple of guys in. 

“You saw for large periods of their innings they looked largely untroubled. We had to bowl with high levels of discipline and back-up spells to get our rewards, and 160-5 became 180 all out.

“That was a testament to the hard work we put in up until that point as opposed to that 20-minute block in itself.

“As a group, we can take confidence, and I do believe those runs are gettable.”

Leach finished with 5-41 to give him a superb match analysis of 34.1-12-86-8.

He said: “It’s been coming out nicely all year, if I’m honest. I’ve had a few dropped catches and had to wait my chance to get the first five-for of the year.

“Very pleased with how I bowled this game, and long may that continue.”