Thursday, July 21st, 2016

Rhodes Says Lower Order Heroics A Reminder Of Achievements Of 1980S And 1990S

Rhodes Says Lower Order Heroics A Reminder Of Achievements Of 1980S And 1990S

Director Of Cricket Steve Rhodes says the ability of the current Worcestershire lower order to help the team overcome challenging situations brings back memories of when he was a player in the all-conquering team of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The likes of Rhodes, Phil Newport, Richard Illingworth, Stuart Lampitt and Neal Radford came to the rescue on many occasions.

The pitches at New Road often meant their services were needed – even allowing for having the prolific Graeme Hick in his prime.

Rhodes was the lynchpin of their line-up with nearly 15,000 first class runs at an average of almost 33 batting primarily at number seven but the others all played their part when needed.

Now circa 2016 has seen similar feats performed when the top five have struggled via various combinations of Ross Whiteley, Ben Cox, Joe Leach, Ed Barnard, Matt Henry and Jack Shantry.

In fairness, the front-line batters were consistent during the first half of the season and laid the foundations for maximum batting points to be accrued more often than not.

But in recent weeks they have been grateful for the efforts of their colleagues who rescued the side from 34-5 and 54-5 in the first innings of the Specsavers County Championship matches with Gloucestershire and Leicestershire.

Rhodes said: "We have had many occasions where the back end boys, as I call them, the guys like Ross and Coxy and Joe Leach and Barny and Matt Henry have really done us proud.

"They have got us out of tricky situations and given us something to bowl at – and that does remind me of a lot of times when I was growing up at Worcester.

"We'd often lose the top order because it was tricky conditions but then the back end boys would certainly give us something to stay in the game.

"As you saw in the last game against Northants, the score we eventually did get (277) was more than a useful score because we bowled them out cheaply both innings.

"It was a pleasure from 50-5 to be able to win the game in three days."

Rhodes added: "It is easy to say 'we'd rather our top order do it' but our top order do the business as well.

"We are a team and eleven people bat and if that top order does struggle, we've got the rearguard action from the others.

"But good sides need that and we pride ourselves on the way our bowlers bat and hopefully it is going to stand us in good stead going forward."