Thursday, April 22nd, 2021


Worcestershire opener Jake Libby scored a memorable hundred against his former county on a see-saw opening day of the LV=Insurance County Championship encounter with Nottinghamshire at New Road.

Libby followed up his 180 not out against Essex in the opening game at Chelmsford by hitting 117 from 217 balls with two sixes and ten fours after home captain Joe Leach opted to bat.

He and opener Daryl Mitchell shared an opening stand of 140 before seven wickets went down for 76 runs as spinner Liam Patterson-White extracted some turn and Luke Fletcher bowled with great discipline.

But then Ed Barnard on 40 and Alzarri Joseph with 46 added an unbroken 89 to steer Worcestershire to 305-7 by the close.

It was an excellent day’s entertainment as cricket returned to New Road for the first time this summer.

Worcestershire Club Captain Joe Leach opted to bat, and Mitchell and Libby got the innings off to a flying start.

The 50 partnership came up in only 12 overs, and both players were full of positive intent against the new ball attack of Zak Chappell and Dane Paterson.

Mitchell twice cover-drove Chappell for four and then steered Dane Paterson to the third man boundary.

Libby, who spent six seasons at Trent Bridge, twice cut Chappell to the ropes as the runs flowed.

Nottinghamshire introduced spin into the attack as early as the 14th over in the form of Liam Patterson-White.

Libby demonstrated exemplary use of his feet in lofting the slow left armer over mid-on for four and then came down the wicket to hit him straight down the ground for six.

He brought up his half-century and the hundred partnership in unusual circumstances after playing Steve Mullaney to deep cover for two.

The ball was returned to keeper Tom Moores who tried to run Mitchell out with a throw to the non-striker’s end, but instead, the ball raced away for four overthrows.

Libby hit six conventional boundaries in his 86 ball fifty, plus the one six, while the century stand occupied 26.2 overs.

By lunch, Libby had moved onto 62 not out, with Mitchell unbeaten on 45 in a total of 122-0 from 32 overs.

Mitchell’s first Championship half-century of the season was completed with a leg glance for his sixth four off Chappell in the second over after the resumption.

The partnership was eventually broken on 140 when Mitchell on 59 drove on the up at a widish delivery from Fletcher and edged through to keeper Tom Moores standing up to the stumps.

Worcestershire added only one run before Tom Fell (1) looked to work Chappell of his legs and was lbw.

The Nottinghamshire attack bowled a tighter line during the afternoon session, with Fletcher leading by example and barely conceding more than one run per over.

Gareth Roderick (1) nibbled at a delivery from Paterson, which moved away and provided Moores with a comfortable catch.

A superb piece of fielding from Fletcher led to Brett D’Oliveira’s downfall after scoring just three.

He steered Patterson-White to backward point and was called through immediately for a single by Libby. But D’Oliveira initially hesitated to set off and failed to beat Fletcher’s direct hit at the non-striker’s end.

Libby brought up his 100 in a grand manner when he pulled a short ball from Paterson over the square leg boundary.

Riki Wessels (13) was bowled by a superb Patterson-White delivery which pitched on the middle stump and hit off and then Libby nicked a widish ball from Fletcher through to Moores.

It became 216-7 when Ben Cox went lbw after paddle sweeping at Patterson-White.

But Joseph and Barnard batted with great responsibility and with few alarms during the final session, and Worcestershire secured a third batting bonus point just before the close.

Joseph clubbed Fletcher over mid-wicket for six, and the 300 came up to secure a third batting point.