Saturday, May 6th, 2017

Rhodes Proud Of Worcs Fight And Says “lot To Celebrate Even In Defeat”

Rhodes Proud Of Worcs Fight And Says “lot To Celebrate Even In Defeat”

Steve Rhodes hailed the fighting qualities shown by Worcestershire despite suffering an innings and seven runs reversal against Sussex and said "there is a lot to celebrate even in defeat."

Worcestershire's Director Of Cricket again highlighted that it had been a mistake to bowl first as the County's batsmen had to contend with a pitch of increasingly variable bounce on the final two days.

But he was pleased with the fighting qualities evident in such conditions – from openers Daryl Mitchell and Brett D'Oliveira yesterday and then Ross Whiteley and Ed Barnard today.

The latter duo were struck on either the helmet or body on more than one occasion but refused to buckle for more than 25 overs in a seventh wicket partnership of 79.

Rhodes told BBC Hereford-Worcester's Dave Bradley: "I thought it was a great effort. We left the lads quite a task to do in this game with our decision regarding the toss.

"To be perfectly honest, once we had made that decision and they got a big score, we were really struggling because that wicket went a hell of a lot up and down against a fiery sort of international class attack.

"They made life difficult so to see some of the fight, the opening batsmen and also also the lads down the order… look at the efforts of Barny and Ross today.

"They have got some bruises and been smacked on the head so they've really been in a battle so I'm very proud of the way they fought hard.

"Was it dangerous out there today? A fourth day pitch in my opinion should go up and down but there were some balls that were quite dangerous.

But sometimes in cricket on day four, you do get some balls that react quite a lot. I'm not putting any blame on anyone like the groundsman or the pitch inspector. It is part and parcel of the game."

Worcestershire suffered their first Specsavers County Championship setback of the season after winning the opening four games.

But Rhodes does NOT view it as a case of having to bounce back when they face Glamorgan at New Road on Friday.

He said: "I don't see it that way. I see it as a great effort. There have been times in the past when we would have just rolled over and we made Sussex, who had the better of the conditions, really fight hard.

"There is a lot to celebrate even in defeat and if we carry on with that sort of effort level when we get decisions right (with the toss) we will probably be on the winning side."

In terms of the decision with the toss, Rhodes said: "When you make the decision, it is important to balance how much it is going to go up and down with how much it is going to go sideways initially.

"Sussex, I understand, were going to bowl so it's not just Worcestershire who would have made that decision (to bowl first).

"Sometimes, you've got to take that on the chin but if we fight like that and show the same effort levels in tough conditions, then that's a really good sign for us going forward."