Saturday, April 22nd, 2017

Leach And Tongue Shine As Worcs Triumph By 20 Runs

Skipper Joe Leach and Josh Tongue shone with the ball as Worcestershire triumphed by 20 runs over Northamptonshire inside two days in the Specsavers County Championship clash at New Road.

The County set Northamptonshire a 185 target as the wickets continued to tumble.

But Leach with 5-62 and Tongue 4-45 saw Worcestershire home and they secured 19 points to add to the maximum 24 point haul against Glamorgan at the SWALEC Stadium.

Leach finished with match figures of 31.4-2-122-10 as his side edged home in a match dominated throughout by the ball.

Tongue had also helped Ed Barnard add a vital 45 runs for the final Worcestershire wicket in their second innings which in the overall analysis proved crucial.

A total of 24 wickets fell today before the game reached its climax past seven o'clock this evening when Leach trapped Northants debutant Andy Carter lbw.

Worcestershire gained a first innings lead of 31 after taking the last four Northamptonshire wickets within the first hour.

But then Worcestershire were bowled out for 153 in their second innings.

Northants resumed on 102-6 in sunny conditions compared to the overcast and chilly weather of the opening day when 16 wickets went down.

But they were still bowled out for 157 in 35 overs in the Specsavers County Championship Division Two clash.

John Hastings did most of the damage, claiming three of the four wickets to fall.

Ben Duckett had started the day on 45 not out but added only two more runs before he drove at Hastings and edged through to keeper Ben Cox.

Hastings struck again when Steven Crook (0) went for an expansive shot and only succeeded in inside edging the ball onto his stumps at 125-8.

Leach completed his first five wicket haul of the campaign when Mohammad Azharullah (0) pushed forward and Tom Kohler-Cadmore showed a safe pair of hands at first slip.

Nathan Buthan struck a few lusty blows in moving onto 24 not out.

But the innings ended when Hastings bowled Northants new signing Carter for three.

Hastings finished with 3-60 from 11 overs and Leach 5-60 from 16 overs.

The wickets continued to tumble when Worcestershire started their second innings.

Daryl Mitchell (0) edged Nathan Buck to keeper Adam Rossington in the first over.

Moeen Ali (0) drove at Azharullah and Duckett at first slip held onto the chance.

Then Brett D'Oliveira (1) was trapped lbw by Azharullah.

Worcestershire rejigged their batting order with Hastings batting at four and Leach at five.

Leach went on the attack and square cut Azharullah for four and lofted him straight for another boundary.

He made a rapid 16 before aiming a hit over mid wicket and being bowled by Carter.

Tom Fell came in at number six and by lunch had moved onto 11 and Hastings 13 out of 47-4 from 15 overs.

On the resumption, the pair added another nine runs before Hastings was bowled by Azharullah for a determined 22.

Joe Clarke (4) tried to force a rising delivery from Buck and edged through to Duckett at first slip with the score 67-6.

Fell struck four boundaries in his 23 before he was bowled by a delivery from Buck which cut back in and kept low at 82-7.

Ben Cox (11) fell to the Rossington-Carter combination and Crook accounted for Tom Kohler-Cadmore (22).

But then Ed Barnard (26 not out) and Jos Tongue (15) added 45 for the final wicket before the latter was bowled by Buck.

When Northamptonshire began their second innings, Leach quickly dismissed Duckett (5) with a ball of full length with eight on the board.

Tongue got in on the act by bowling Rob Newton (21) and three ball later Rob Keogh (3) departed in the same manner at 45-3.

Leach the made a double breakthrough as Adam Rossington drove the all-rounder to Fell at cover.

It became 98-5 when Leach broke through the defences of Max Holden (37) – his eighth wicket of the game.

The excitement was growing and Tongue struck again as Richard Levi (22) was trapped lbw and then the 19-year-old paceman bowled Steven Crook for nought.

Leach continued to ask questions and disposed of Nathan Buck for five and it became 149-9 as Tongue held onto a return cach from Josh Cobb (9) – his fourth wicket of the innings.

Azharullah and Carter added 15 runs to keep Worcestershire supporters on the edge of their seats but there were scenes of joy when Leach dismissed Carter.