Monday, April 25th, 2016

Rhodes Praise As Worcs Recover From “staring Down A Barrel”

Rhodes Praise As Worcs Recover From “staring Down A Barrel”

Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes praised the way Worcestershire fought back from "staring down a barrel" on day two of the Specsavers County Championship match with Gloucestershire at Bristol.

Worcestershire picked up the last five Gloucestershire wickets for 44 runs thanks to excellent bowling by Matt Henry and Jack Shantry harnessed to some excellent fielding.

Then Moeen Ali and Brett D'Oliveira figured in a fine second wicket stand of 120 before centurion Joe Clarke and Ben Cox added an unbroken 135 for the sixth wicket.

It meant Worcestershire closed on 297-5 in reply to Gloucestershire's 380.

Rhodes told BBC Hereford-Worcester's Dave Bradley: "We fought back really well today. We were staring down the barrel at 330-5 overnight and two guys who were in (Hamish Marshall and Kieran Noema-Barnett).

"We challenged the boys to have a really good hour and that's what they did. I was pleased with the team effort in the field.

"Matt Henry and Jack Shantry bowled well but some of the catching was excellent and thankfully we bowled them out.

"After losing Daryl Mitchell first up, it was a great partnership by Dolly and Mo to put on 120. I thought it was a really special effort chasing 380 and then, with losing a couple of wickets, even more so with the two guys at the end there, Joe Clarke with a lovely 100 and Ben Cox who supported him extremely well.

"There were some good team efforts from the Worcester boys and there was some good cricket out there.

"I think Gloucs tried so hard. I was impressed with some of their bowling and the way they kept going.

"I enjoyed and was impressed with the battle between Joe Clarke and Josh Shaw, two young English lads who really gave it their all.

"I was really impressed with the effort levels of Shaw and the way Joe dealt with it. It was great to see two young English lads doing so well. It was a joy to watch."

On Clarke's fine innings, Rhodes said: "He is fine prospect isn't he. One of his advantages is he likes to score and what I mean by that is that he puts the bowlers under pressure.

"If they bowl a slight four ball, he has got a nasty habit of putting it away for four so it is a great asset.

"Added to that he has a nice tempo to his batting. He seems to respect things and hang around and he knows he can only score his runs if he is out there batting so he doesn't get in a runaway train where he'll go 4, 4, 6 and hit it up in the air.

"He bats nicely and has got some very good qualities."

Rhodes is aware of the need to try and avoid the collapse suffered by Gloucestershire this morning when Clarke and Cox resume tomorrow.

He said: "We never know what is going to happen. We have got two guys who hopefully can have a bit of time getting their eye in. It could be that Gloucs take the new ball.

"If that is the case there might be a few gaps and a few catchers in so there might be some opportunities to score as well.

"But we need to have a good first half hour, 40 minutes and spend some time in getting your eye in again which is something sadly for Gloucestershire, their guys didn't do."

Clarke is hoping he can help Worcestershire obtain a first innings advantage as he continued his liking for facing Gloucestershire.

He said: "From the position we were in, 160-5, it's always nice to get a hundred and certainly in that situation, it's a lot nicer to do it for the team.

"It's put us in a good position. We will try and bat similar tomorrowand try and get a lead. The main aim is to try and bowl them out and see where it goes from there.

"But the first thing is to get a lead, see how big we can go with our first innings, and see where that takes us.

"I do enjoy playing against Gloucestershire. It's good that it has come first game. It is always nice to get a hundred first game so we will see how it goes tomorrow morning."

Clarke admitted he felt ready for his first Championship innings of the season after the four-day wash-out against Kent.

He said: "I didn't feel rusty. We've had a long pre-season so a lot of balls have been hit. I felt ready for the Kent game but it was a case of getting back in the nets, playing in squad games and getting the practice in and you feel ready for today."