Saturday, April 9th, 2022


Ed Pollock scored a century on his Worcestershire debut, and in his first-ever appearance in the LV=Insurance County Championship, on a day of dominance against Leicestershire at the Uptonsteel County Ground.

Pollock clipped Leicestershire captain Colin Ackermann for two to reach his hundred from just 113 balls and his delight was there for all to see.

He did not make a single red ball appearance during his years with Warwickshire but produced an innings of controlled aggression today after being handed his opportunity at New Road.

The 26-year-old was finally out for 112 from 122 balls with two sixes and 10 fours.

Pollock and Jake Libby’s post-tea run spree was largely responsible for enabling Worcestershire to stretch their lead to 369, heading into tomorrow’s final day.

A hugely successful day saw the Worcestershire bowlers earn their side a first-innings lead of 135, and four wickets from Joe Leach helped dismiss Leicestershire for 213.

Then Pollock and Libby took centre stage by scoring at around five runs an over in the final session.

Their opening stand of 163 spanned just 32.5 overs, and by the close
Worcestershire had moved onto 234-5.

All-rounder Leach followed up his excellent 70 with the bat yesterday in spearheading a fine performance by the Worcestershire attack as the home side were dismissed for 213.

Leach ended with figures of 17-5-37-4 as he continued in the rhythm and form he displayed at the tail-end of last summer and during the pre-season programme.

He received excellent support from Charlie Morris (2-52), Dillon Pennington (1-37) and Ed Barnard (2-54) as part of a four-pronged pace attack.

Only Lewis Hill, with an excellent 91, and a last wicket stand of 48 between Chris Wright and Beuran Hendricks, enabled Leicestershire to avoid the possibility of being asked to follow on.

Leicestershire resumed on 42-3 after the loss of the final 20.4 overs on the second evening through bad light, and then the rain had denied Worcestershire the opportunity to try and make further inroads.

But Leach did not take long to claim his third scalp on the innings when play resumed on a chilly morning.

He struck in his third over of the day when Leicestershire captain, Ackermann (12), shouldered arms and was lbw to a delivery which nipped back sharply.

Hill had survived a chance on 15 on Friday evening, and he went on to complete a 61-ball half-century with a boundary off Pennington.

Leach bowled an excellent initial spell of 6-2-11-1.

Hill and Harry Swindells posted a half-century stand, but then Barnard returned to the attack to strike twice in three overs.

Swindells (16) was guilty of a misjudgement and bowled off an inside edge.

New batsman Ben Mike (4) then paid the penalty for a false stroke and picked out Azhar Ali at mid on.

By lunch, Hill had moved onto 81 not out from a total of 128-6, with Leach having figures of 14-4-32-3 and Barnard 10-2-42-2.

A sharp shower delayed the restart, but Pennington quickly made up for lost time with the prized wicket of Hill.

He was within seven runs of a century when he chopped onto his stumps before Pennington wheeled away in delight.

Hill’s 114 ball knock contained 15 fours with Leicestershire then 142-7.

Morris picked up his second wicket when he beat the defences of Callum Parkinson (7), who was lbw to a delivery angled into his pads.

Leach returned and won another lbw decision against Ed Barnes (23).

Leicestershire were then 165-9 and still needing another 34 runs to avoid the possibility of being asked to follow on.

But the last wicket pair of Wright and Hendricks played some attacking strokes, and a pull for four by the South African off Barnard lifted the total past the 200 mark.

Baker ended the resistance when Wright (32) holed out after aiming a big hit straight down the ground.

Pollock showed his intent right from the start of Worcestershire’s reply with three boundaries in the first over from Wright.

He turned the veteran pace bowler twice off his legs to the ropes and then produced a splendid back foot cover drive. It set the tone for the remainder of the day.

There was a brief delay after Jake Libby was hit on the helmet by Wright, but then he and Pollock scored rapidly throughout the final session.

Leicestershire could not stem the tide of runs before Libby, having made 75 from 101 balls, was bowled by Ben Mike.

After Azhar Ali (1) was lbw to Parkinson, Jack Haynes joined Pollock and scored freely.

Pollock’s memorable knock finally ended when he aimed a pull at Mike and picked out Rhodes at 216-3.

Haynes (29 from 23 balls) was also dismissed, aiming a leg-side blow at Mike, who then bowled Barnard (0) as he looked to force through the covers before bad light ended proceedings.