Friday, April 13th, 2018

Leach Reaches 250 Wickets As County Dismiss Hants For 290

Skipper Joe Leach reached 250 wickets in his first class career as Worcestershire fought back with the ball in impressive style on the opening day of the Specsavers County Championship match with Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl.

The home side were put into bat via an uncontested toss and were well placed at 111-1 approaching lunch.

But Steve Magoffin and Joe Leach then worked their way through the top and middle order, Josh Tongue picked up the prized wicket of Hashim Amla and Daryl Mitchell struck twice in two balls as Hampshire were bowled out for 290 in 75.4 overs.

It enabled Worcestershire, who are fielding nine Academy players in their first game back in Division One,  to collect the maximum three bowling points.

By the close they had reached 40-2 in reply off 18 overs.

Leach’s 250th scalp polished off the innings as he had last man Fidel Edwards (1) caught behind by Ben Cox.

He finished as Division Two’s highest wicket-taker in 2017 with 69 victims and he quickly picked up his first success of the new campaign.

Lewis McManus (2) was confronted by a fine delivery which nipped away and he edged through to Cox.

Hampshire were 5-1 in the third over but then James Vince and Jimmy Adams batted fluently in adding 106 in 19.3 overs.

Vince was the more aggressive and reached his half century off 49 balls with his 10th boundary when he clipped Ed Barnard on the leg side.

It came out of 95-1 in the 20th over and the 100 came up in the next over.

But Magoffin came back into the attack and Adams (33) misjudged a fine delivery, played no stroke and was trapped lbw.

Then England batsman Vince (75) was undone by a delivery which nipped back off the seam at 122-3.

Leach returned after lunch and he accounted for Sam Northeast (17) who drove at a ball that nipped back and was bowled.

The County skipper picked up another scalp when left hander Rilee Roussouw also attempted a drive at a full delivery and also saw his stumps shattered.

South African star Amla dug in to for the home side but after making 36 he was trapped lbw on the crease by Tongue at 193-6.

It was a first Division One scalp to cherish for the Academy product.

Leach then brought Mitchell into the attack for the penultimate over before tea and it proved to be an inspired move.

Liam Dawson (24) was bowled by his fifth delivery and the next accounted for Kyle Abbott with the one-time Worcestershire paceman lbw for nought.

By tea Hampshire had moved onto 237-8.

Mitchell was denied his hat-trick after the resumption but only five runs had been added when Brad Wheal (4) was lbw to Tongue.

Gareth Berg, who ended 75 not out, and Edwards added 48 for the last wicket before Leach dismissed the latter.

When Worcestershire began their reply, Brett D’Oliveira (1) was caught at extra cover by Vince off a leading edge in Edwards’ first over with four runs on the board.

Mitchell, who has had a fine record in recent meetings with Hampshire, and Tom Fell battled hard in the final part of the day.

Fell drove and pulled Wheal for successive boundaries but after making 16 he was bowled by Abbott with a ball that came back in with the total on 36-2 in the 16th over.

Mitchell ended the day on 15 not out and nightwatchman Tongue four not out.