Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

Mason: Worcs Still In Strong Position Despite Missed Opportunities

Assistant Coach Matt Mason says Worcestershire are still in a strong position to challenge for victory against Sussex in the Specsavers County Championship clash at Hove despite "missing two good opportunities to really ram this game home."

Sussex will resume on 13-1 in pursuit of a 272 target after 17 wickets fell on the second day.

They had been reduced to 71-7 at one stage in their first innings in pursuit of Worcestershire's 306 before recovering to 229.

Then Worcestershire, thanks to an excellent century stand between Tom Fell and Ben Cox, had reached 189-5 in their second innings before the last five wickets went down for five runs.

Mason, who is also the County's bowling coach, told BBC Hereford-Worcester's Dave Bradley: "It was a really strange day's cricket. There was some really good stuff and some not so good stuff from both teams but at the end of the day we are still in a strong position.

"We are just going to have to bowl well on the third day and hope the wicket keeps playing a few tricks.

"They need another 260 runs which will be a big ask on that pitch because it is difficult but also if they do form a partnershp they could easily chase down that down because batsman have got in and stayed in for long periods.

"I thought at one stage when they were 71-7 there was a good chance to get a 200 run lead and they had a good partnership between Jordan and Archer.

"But I also felt we didn't bowl particularly well in that period either apart from Miguel whose efforts musn't go unnoticed.

"Seven wickets is a great effort but he was a lone ranger and the other bowles know they haven't supported him as well as they might have and the run rate showed that.

"But then for us to get bowled out cheaply, losing the last five wickets for five runs, was also disappointing.

"There are two opportunities we've missed to really ram this game home and as it turns out we are still probably in the ascendancy so work that one out!"

Mason was delighted with the efforts of West Indian paceman Cummins who returned 7-84 from 19 overs.

He said: "Miguel would have been frustrated after the Essex game. He actually bowled very well, considering he didn't get a wicket in that game and it was great for him to get the rewards.

"He has shown why he has got the ability to play Test match cricket. "He has got a lively pace, he swings the ball late, he has got that aggressive streak you need as a young fast bowler so he has got a bright future ahead in the international game."

Mason was full of praise for Sussex's former New Road bowler Steve Magoffin who returned his second five wicket haul of the game.

He said: "Steve Magoffin is a fantastic bowler. Some of our batsmen think Steve Magoffin is the toughest bowler in county cricket to face.

"Day in day out he bowls a nagging line and length and does enough with the ball and is still lively enough for an old man. He won't mind me saying that.

"He has got 50 wickets in five successive seasons now so what a class performer he has been for Sussex and he was once a Worcester man as well so he keeps coming back to haunt us.

" Mason believes the first hour will be crucial on the third day.

He said: "It could be a really exciting day and will all be set up in that first hour.

"If we can bowl well and make some early inroads, we'll be in with a real good chance to finish this one off.

"But if they start well and get off to a bit of a flier, they'll put us under real pressure. It could go either way at this stage.

"Wickets have tended to fall in clusters but the way Tom Fell and Ben Cox, for the second time in the match, batted showed you can score runs.

"Their stand might make the difference but it’s been a great two days on a very good cricket wicket."