Monday, June 27th, 2022


Joe Leach was delighted to make a successful return to first team action and help Worcestershire enjoy the better of the opening two days of the LV=Insurance County Championship match with Glamorgan at New Road.

But the all-rounder is taking nothing for granted in the bid to secure a third Championship win of the campaign.

Leach returned career best figures of 6-44 to help earn his side a first innings of 132.

It surpassed his previous best of 6-73 against Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl in 2015 and the perfect scenario for the 31-year-old after being side-lined with a back problem suffered in mid May.

Worcestershire extended their lead to 279 with four wickets remaining by the close on a helpful wicket for seam bowlers.

But Leach knows there is still work ahead to ensure his side remain in the driving seat.

He said: “A helpful wicket with the ball to be honest and lucky enough to get on a bit of a roll. Sometimes in cricket it just works for you and I found a good length.

“I don’t really know why I take wickets in bunches. It could be down to the length I bowl. It challenges guys early on to defend their stumps.

“Maybe it is that, and putting guys under pressure, but I’m happy to come off with a career best and put the guys in a very good position at the moment.”

As for Worcestershire’s chances of victory, Leach said: “We’ve been lucky enough so far to have all the cards fall into place.

“No doubt it will be a bit harder work second innings as and when that time comes.

“We are in a good position but in modern day cricket it’s hard to tell. We’ve seen at Headingley and Trent Bridge, with these day four chases, teams aren’t fazed by them.

“Obviously the wicket is favourable to the bowlers but I’ve seen many a remarkable thing up to now so we won’t be counting our chickens, that’s for sure

“Tomorrow is going to be about putting the ball in the right areas and doing it with power and seeing what happens.”

Leach admits the wicket was ideal for his return to action with its assistance to the seam bowlers.

He said: “Watching the Durham game from afar, that looked like a good one to miss!

“It’s helpful for the bowlers, a bit of carry, a bit of grass on it to aid sideways movement and a little bit of variable bounce this evening as well.

“It is certainly one I’d like to pick up and take around with me if I had the chance.

“The pace in the wicket is something I’ve not seen at New Road very often and that is really encouraging signs for us.

“It has produced two days of high entertainment cricket. I don’t think you can take your eyes off too many balls that have been bowled which is great.

“It’s what we want to play on and what people want to come and see, so that is good.

“Up to now this has been a very good cricket wicket, slightly bowler friendly if we are looking for perfection.

“But it has produced a fantastic game of cricket and one that people will want to come and watch.

“Ultimately as we are seeing with the Test side, it is a product we want people to watch.

“We don’t want games of cricket that people don’t want to come and watch.”

Leach is delighted to be back in action after a three game absence from the Championship.

He made his comeback in a Seconds match in which he bowled eight overs against Leicestershire at Barnt Green.

He said: “At the start, we didn’t know how it was going to pan out especially given what happened two or three years ago.

“It was nice to get that good news and to only bowl eight match overs was an interesting experience, not something I’ve been necessarily used to, but I’m fresh.”