Tuesday, April 30th, 2019


Joe Leach made a successful return to bowling for Worcestershire Seconds and impressed in two spells of five overs apiece against Lancashire Seconds on day one of the Championship match at Northern CC.

The County’s club captain took the new ball and dismissed openers Jamie Crawley and George Balderson during an initial burst of 5-1-18-1.

Crawley (0) nicked an outswinger through to keeper Alex Milton from the final ball of Leach’s first over.

The 27-year-old struck again in his second over with Josh Dell holding onto a chance at second slip to dismiss Balderson (3).

Leach returned for a second stint of five overs after lunch and again was in a good rhythm and had a chance put down off his bowling.

He had figures of 5-10-0 which gave him an overall analysis for the day of 10-2-18-2.

It was just the return Leach had been hoping for after recovering from the stress fracture of the back suffered mid-way through last summer.

Andy Sutton, who is the Seconds Lead Coach for this three-day fixture, said: “Joe was chomping at the bit and excited to be back on the park bowling. He bowled beautifully in his first spell.

“He again bowled a great line and length in his second spell, had one or two catches dropped off his bowling, and could have picked up four or five wickets.

“He looked like he was back in the zone and looked in great shape.”

Leach’s new ball partner, Adam Finch, bowled an aggressive post lunch spell which unsettled the batsmen.

He ended a partnership of 122 between George Lavelle (65) and Nick Greenwood (56) by having the former caught behind.

The England Under-19 paceman had earlier bowled Sam Perry (15) who chopped a delivery onto his stumps.

Finch also cleaned up the final two wickets to finish with the fine figures of 13.2-3-28-4.

Lancashire had suffered a mid innings collapse and lost three wickets for two runs – two of them to triallist Ari Karvelas.

Milton ended with five catches.

Worcestershire were given a searching examination with the ball by paceman Richard Gleeson and closed on 36-4 from 20.4 overs.

Gleeson dismissed Ollie Westbury (6), Leach (2) – caught behind – and bowled Milton (9) while Callum Lea (5) chopped on a Balderson delivery.

Opener Dell remained defiant and batted 58 deliveries and 84 minutes and he will resume on 12 not out tomorrow morning.