Monday, June 15th, 2015

Rhodes Praises “calm Head” Of Clarke After He Registers First Lv = Cc Half Century

Rhodes Praises “calm Head” Of Clarke After He Registers First Lv = Cc Half Century

Worcestershire Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes hailed an "outstanding" innings from Joe Clarke as the 19-year-old scored his first half century for the senior side in the LV = County Championship derby with Warwickshire at New Road.

Clarke reached his fifty of 58 balls with nine fours in only his second Championship knock and he top-scored out of 243 all out.

The England Under-19 wicket-keeper earned his chance after scoring a double century for the Seconds against Gloucestershire at Cheltenham College last month and made his debut against Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl.

Rhodes said: "I thought it was an outstanding innings. I was so pleased for him, he looked in control, he was very calm at the crease and looked as though he had done that quite a few times before and yet this is only his second game.

"He is just turned 19, he is a bright prospect and hopefully he will build on that first 50.

"Wickets were falling around him as well and that is not an easy situation for anyone in their second game and somebody so young.

"But he has got a calm head and I think that helps him to keep control and he seemed to have time when he was batting and that's a really good thing.

"If someone looks to have time, it generally means they've got a bit of class."

Joe Leach was the other leading performer for Worcestershire with three wickets in his opening spell as Warwickshire closed on 101-4.

Rhodes said: "It was a great spell. He bowled nine overs on the trot, took good wickets for us and ended up with a three-for.

"The one thing about Joe is he is a tremendous trier and when he has got that ball in his hand, he gives 100% and thankfully for us he gets some reward."

Rhodes believes the first hur could be crucial on Monday morning after a day of fluctuating fortunes.

He said: "It was good at lunch-time, 104-2, and obviously we would have liked to get more runs than that. "We wanted to get back in it quickly and we did that with four quick wickets.

"I think we've worked really hard for those four wickets and normally first thing at Worcester it does a bit, so we are hoping to make more inroads in the morning.

"I thought Ian Bell and Tim Ambrose played really well and hopefully the conditions will just nip around and make life difficult for them in that first hour."

But Rhodes admits it is not the kind of wicket where he expected 14 wickets to fall on the opening day.

He said: "There has been some batting which has been a little bit sloppy and, it's not an excuse, but we play quite a lot of T20 cricket and I think at times it is difficult to change that sort of mentality when you are a batter.

"Sometimes as a batter that will mean you possibly play a shot you didn't want to play or execute as well as you could."