Monday, August 10th, 2020

LEACH SPARKLES WITH BALL BEFORE OPENERS FEATURE IN FINE STAND

Worcestershire CCC Club Captain Joe Leach produced an inspired spell of bowling on day three of the Bob Willis Trophy encounter with Glamorgan CCC at Blackfinch New Road to help earn his side a first-innings lead of 81.

The all-rounder delivered a remarkable pre-lunch burst of four wickets for just three runs in seven deadly overs.

Kiran Carlson, Chris Cooke, Tom Cullen and Dan Douthwaite all fell victim to the 29-year-old.

Leach had also taken four wickets in quick succession on the final afternoon of last week’s win over Gloucestershire at Bristol to help seal the victory, and he was in the same form today.

He ended with 4-67, Ed Barnard 3-54, Charlie Morris 2-86 and Dillon Pennington 1-66 as Glamorgan were finally dismissed for 374 in 116.3 overs.

It enabled Worcestershire to secure a further two bowling bonus points to add to their five batting points.

There was a further memorable highlight today for Worcestershire when keeper Ben Cox pulled off a stunning catch from the bowling of Morris to dismiss Glamorgan century-maker Billy Root for 118.

He added 118 for the seventh wicket with Graham Wagg (54)

Worcestershire openers Daryl Mitchell (47 not out) and Jake Libby (44) then consolidated their side’s position impressively with a partnership of 97.

The home side will enter the final day with an overall advantage of 179 runs.

Leach said of his lethal spell: “It seems to be the way it has gone this season. I feel like I’ve backed up most of my spells pretty well, to be honest, and sometimes you don’t get the reward you think you deserve and then I’ve had two four-wicket spells at given times.

“Root and Wagg played well. It is a good batting wicket, so we knew there was going to be a partnership at some stage, but we stuck to our task really well.

“It’s been an excellent cricket wicket with a bit more pace and carry than in recent years which is a brilliant thing.

“It’s hard work for the bowlers when the batters get in, but all you can ask for as a bowler is that the nicks carry when you are good enough to get them, and this pitch has certainly done that.

“There has also been a little bit of rough created by the guys coming around the wicket.”

As regards tomorrow’s game plan, Leach said: “We just wanted to play the session this evening and see where it took us. We’ve made most of the running in this game, so we’ll see what tomorrow brings.”

Carlson added only three runs to his overnight tally when he pushed forward to a delivery which left him, and Daryl Mitchell held a sharp low catch at second slip.

It ended a partnership of 141 in 47 overs with Root.

Leach struck again in his next over when Glamorgan captain Chris Cooke (0) went for a square drive and picked out Ed Barnard who did well in clinging onto a low chance at point.

Tom Cullen (1) was next to perish to a ball which moved away just enough to find the edge as he pushed forward – and Mitchell made no mistake with a chest-high catch.

It became 203-6 with the last ball of the same over as Dan Douthwaite attempted to hook Leach and succumbed to a tumbling catch by Brett D’Oliveira running in from the mid-wicket boundary.

Leach finally took himself out of the attack after an inspired spell of bowling and was replaced by spinner D’Oliveira.

Root and new batsman Graham Wagg batted with plenty of resolve, particularly against the second new ball which was taken one over before lunch.

The partnership was worth 118 in 34 overs when Cox produced his acrobatics to dismiss Root.

He was in mid-air at full length away to his left when he clung onto Root’s edge off the bowling of Morris.

The same combination accounted for Kieran Bull (7) in a more straightforward fashion, and then Wagg (54) top-edged Ed Barnard to provide another catch to the keeper.

Pennington finally received some deserved tangible reward for his efforts to end the innings when Barnard pouched Michael Hogan in another excellent reflex catch at point.

Mitchell and Libby were understandably watchful during the early part of Worcestershire’s second innings against the new ball pair of Michael Hogan and Timm van der Gugten.

But the duo gradually accelerated with Mitchell straight driving and cutting Wagg for successive fours.

First innings century-maker Libby also collected two fours in a row off the same bowler to bring up the 50 in the 23rd over.

He then picked up three boundaries during a Dan Douthwaite over before nicking the same bowler through to wicket-keeper Cooke. Leach (0) promoted himself up the order as nightwatchman but was caught at slip from the final delivery of the day from Kieran Bull which looped up in the air.