Sunday, May 14th, 2017

Leach Hails Belief And Character Shown By Rapids

Leach Hails Belief And Character Shown By Rapids

Joe Leach paid tribute to the belief and character shown by Worcestershire Rapids in sealing a home tie in the knockout stages of the Royal London One-Day Cup.

Skipper Leach admitted that the Rapids "probably looked dead and buried" as Durham Jets reached 122-0 when chasing a 271 target – built around Brett D'Oliveira's excellent 73 not out – in the North Group encounter at New Road.

But that never say die spirit now evident in the squad came to the fore in abundance.

Spinners Moeen Ali and D'Oliveira bowled tight spells before former Durham player John Hastings and Daryl Mitchell both claimed three wickets.

Durham eventually closed on 255-9 as the Rapids sealed a fifth win in seven games and moved back to the top of the table after Yorkshire Vikings setback against Warwickshire.

Now a win over Derbyshire Falcons at the 3aaa County Ground on Tuesday will book a home semi-final.

Leach said: "It was a fantastic win. We probably looked a bit dead and buried after 25 overs but it is testament to the belief in the side at the moment and the run we are on at the moment that we believed we could win the game.

"That showed and as soon as we got that (first) wicket, we swarmed all over them and they panicked a little bit. A great win.

"Shants (Jack Shantry) has just said in the dressing room, that in days gone by we might have folded there and got hammered but we've got a very talented group as I keep saying.

"To show that character to go with it, stands us in very good stead and especially going into what are the knockout stages of the competition now – and we are confident going into that.

"We were pleased with our total and I thought Dolly's (Brett D'Oliveira's) innings was fantastic and ably supported by some of the other guys.

"We thought 270 was around about par. At 25 overs it was looking a little bit under par, I must admit, but the way we clawed it back there, probably showed it was (about par).

"It is another pitch at New Road that has produced a fantastic game of one-day cricket for everyone coming down to watch and that's the main thing."

The game turned on its head immediately after a drinks break during which Leach gathered the players into a huddle with Keaton Jennings instantly dismissed by Moeen Ali.

Leach said: "I'd love to claim there was a 'Mourinho' moment. There really wasn't.

"I just felt we might break the momentum a little bit. Just try something a little bit different to break up the momentum of the game and it worked.

"The spinners put the break on, they were fantastic. Dolly has probably been our best bowler throughout the tournament and he was great again today and obviously Moeen is an international class spinner.

"He showed that today and Mitch, on those pitches, is absolutely horrible to face and he proved it again today."

D'Oliveira hit three sixes and four fours in his 68 ball knock.

Leach said: "I'm really happy for him. I think he's felt like he's been a little bit short of runs in that middle order.

"So for him to play that innings today was really good for him and gives him confidence going into the later rounds."

Joe Clarke was unable to field during the Jets innings.

Leach said: "He has got a tight hamstring and we will see how he is in the morning and make our decision there for Tuesday."