Monday, July 11th, 2022


Joe Leach says the sixth-wicket pair of Ed Barnard and Gareth Roderick deserve “massive credit” for keeping Worcestershire in contention after 15 wickets fell on day one of the LV=Insurance County Championship encounter with Middlesex at Merchant Taylors’ School.

Barnard and Roderick joined forces with Worcestershire in trouble at 49-5 in reply to Middlesex’s 188.

But Leach believes the game is evenly poised after the duo added an unbroken stand of 51 in the bowler-friendly conditions.

The all-rounder, who picked up three wickets, said: “Massive credit to Ed and Gareth at the end part of the day. That was a real tricky period when they got together.

“We had lost two wickets in two balls, and they had a Test bowler with his tail up coming down the hill and another Test bowler coming up the hill.

“It was a tricky time, and the way they navigated that last hour has kept us in the game until now. The game is evenly poised as things stand.

“We have obviously got a lot of work to do to get up to their first innings score and hopefully beyond it.

“This is going to be a game where a 20-30 run swing, either way, is going to dictate the result.

“We need to scrap for every run at the bottom of the order, keep them out there as long as we can in this heat and give our bowlers as much time off their feet as possible to be nice and fresh to go again tomorrow.”

Leach was surprised by how the day developed and confirmed Worcestershire would also have batted first had they won the toss.

He said: “Given the weather forecast and how the pitch appeared this morning, no one thought 15 wickets would fall in the day.

“We would have batted first had we won the toss. There was a tinge of green, but nothing suggested the pitch would do as much as it did.

“It is a weird wicket. No two balls react the same. There was a little bit of sideways movement throughout the day, and it was a bit up and down and two-paced.

“Batting was not easy by any stretch, but when the ball got softer, it looks a completely different wicket. Very intriguing.”