Tuesday, September 13th, 2022


Joe Leach has spoken of his pride at reaching 400 first class wickets and the Worcestershire all-rounder and admitted it has been a landmark within his sights this summer.

Leach reached the milestone on the opening day of the LV=Insurance County Championship match with Sussex at Hove when he had Faheem Ashraf caught by Jack Haynes at second slip.

It came in the 114th match of his career, and 10 years after his first scalp for Leeds Bradford UCCE against Surrey at The Oval before he enjoyed great success at New Road.

He finished with 4-37 as Sussex were dismissed for 220 and then Ed Pollock and Jake Libby shared an unbroken opening stand of 87.

Leach said: “What does it mean to get 400 wicket? It means a lot to be honest. It’s a landmark I’ve had on my radar a bit this season and to achieve it is really nice it.

“I saw a couple of weeks ago that I ticked off 500 career wickets which was a really nice milestone, and one I hadn’t had on my radar at all.

“This is a massive thing for me, and something I’m really proud of. It’s something I never I would do and hopefully more to come.

“It was disappointing to miss a few games earlier on in the year, especially considering how well it started.

“You’d like to think I’d have reached it (400 wickets) before now had I not had that (back) injury, especially with some of the wickets we’ve played on.

“I missed a bad game to miss from that point of view at Trent Bridge, although to be fair I missed a good one at Durham!”

Leach is delighted with the way the day progressed for Worcestershire after losing the toss.

He said: “Given the fact we lost the toss at ten o’clock this morning, I don’t think we could have wished for a better day.

“We took advantage of some pretty helpful conditions in the first hour which no-one saw coming on either side to be honest.

“It did quite a lot off the pitch in that period and we were good enough to take advantage.

“They fought back reasonably well in the afternoon session but the way Ed and Jake have finished the day has put us in a really strong position.”

Worcestershire Bowling Coach, Alan Richardson, who finished his own career with 569 first class wickets, paid tribute to Leach.

He said: “It is something he should be extremely proud of. Joe has been here a long time, all his career, but he has had to reinvent himself a couple of times.

“He started when he made his debut, when I was playing, as a batter and now has turned himself into a really influential figure and a leader of the bowling attack.

“It is thoroughly deserving for the amount of work he has put in.

“It shows he has been durable, played a lot of cricket, and put himself into a position to be fit enough to play the number of games needed to.

“He has been skilful enough to get selected and, alongside that, he’s had the responsibility of being the captain for quite a long period of time.

“It is an amazing testimony to his skill levels and his durability as a bowler. I’m sure the club are extremely proud of having him as part of it.“