Friday, May 14th, 2021


Club Captain Joe Leach and the Worcestershire CCC tail-enders came to the rescue and earned a vital batting point on day two of the LV=Insurance County Championship match with Durham at the Emirates Riverside.

Worcestershire’s total stood on 126-8 at one stage in reply to Durham’s 246 despite 44 from Tom Fell.

But Leach batted responsibility for an unbeaten 42 from 69 balls with five fours.

Leach was given sterling support initially by Josh Tongue (17) in adding 32 for the ninth wicket and then he and Charlie Morris (21) set a new record for the tenth wicket against Durham as a further valuable 55 runs were added.

It beat the 54 by Stuart Lampitt and Alamgir Sheriyar at Kidderminster in 2001 and enabled Worcestershire to pass the 200 mark and claim that one point to add to the three for bowling.

In such a tight group, every point secured is precious and it was similar to the way Worcestershire picked up a fourth batting point against the odds with two balls to spare against Warwickshire at Edgbaston.

Worcestershire were eventually dismissed for 213 in 69.4 overs and trailed by only 33 on first innings.

Morris then struck an important blow in bowling Alex Lees (12) – Durham’s first innings top-scorer with 99 – with an inswinging yorker.

The home side closed on 79-1 from 31 overs – an overall lead of 112.

Worcestershire resumed on 6-0 in bowler-friendly conditions – overcast skies and the floodlights on.

Jake Libby picked up two boundaries off Mark Wood and, when on 17, completed 1,000 first class runs for Worcestershire in just 11 matches.

Daryl Mitchell (5) went lbw to an inswinger from Chris Rushworth in the next over and Libby on 24 edged a Ben Raine delivery which left him and was caught behind.

Fell and Jack Haynes had to battle hard against quality bowling and the 50 came up in 23.3 overs.

Rushworth returned for a second spell and Haynes (8) pushed forward and was given lbw at 60-3.

Fell looked in good touch and produced a series of fine strokes which brought him boundaries – a pull and clip through mid-wicket at Rushworth’s expense and a back foot drive off Bryden Carse.

The number three and Brett D’Oliveira saw Worcestershire through to 81-3 off 31 overs by lunch – but the wickets tumbled during the afternoon session.

D’Oliveira (10) was lbw on the crease to Raine and Fell, after being dropped on 40, added four more before being bowled by a full delivery from Carse. His 95 ball knock contained eight fours.

Riki Wessels (13) went back and lost his off stump to Rushworth after hitting him for two boundaries earlier in the over.

Ed Barnard (1) was lbw to a Rushworth inswinger and keeper Ben Cox (2) nicked Wood through to Stuart Poynter as four wickets went down for 20 runs in 5.3 overs.

But Leach and Tongue added 32 in 11 overs for the ninth wicket before the latter was bowled by Carse.

Leach was joined by last man Morris and the all-rounder went on the offensive with three boundaries in an over from Scott Borthwick.

Morris was a capable partner and it was his cut for four off Wood that brought up the 200 and he then cover drove the England paceman for four to complete the fifty stand before being bowled by Rushworth who ended with 5-56.

Tongue was given the new ball alongside Leach after his five wicket haul in the first innings.

But it was Morris who struck in his second over when, coming over the wicket, he bowled Lees (12) with a superb inswinging yorker with 28 on the board.

Will Young (37 not out) and Scott Borthwick (24 not out) brought up a half century stand from 84 balls as Durham experienced relatively few alarms in reaching the close.

Morris finished with figures of 6-2-20-1, Leach 10-2-21-0, Tongue 7-0-18-0, Barnard 6-2-14-0 and Mitchell 2-2-0-0.