Wednesday, July 28th, 2021


Worcestershire Rapids Assistant Coach Alan Richardson praised another key performance by Club Captain Joe Leach in the 11 run Royal London  Cup success over Gloucestershire at Bristol.

Leach had smashed a whirlwind 88 as the Rapids chased down a formidable 323 target to defeat Kent at New Road on Sunday.

He made another valuable late order contribution with the bat against Gloucestershire before demonstrating his skills with the ball in the rain-affected fixture.

Leach picked up two wickets in his first over and then bowled some top-notch yorkers in the final over of the game as Gloucestershire, who were set a revised Duckworth-Lewis target of 94, were restricted to 82-4.

He finished with 3-15 from three overs.

Richardson, who is overseeing the One-Day Cup campaign in tandem with Kadeer Ali, said: “He can bowl, can’t he!

“Joe hasn’t played much white-ball cricket recently, so it was brilliant for him to showcase his skills.

“Historically, Joe has got an excellent yorker.

“What he also has is a very calm head on his shoulders and a good cricket brain, and he worked it out quite quickly.

“It was helpful he got those couple of wickets right at the start, and then he held his nerve brilliantly at the end and did exactly what was needed.”

Leach also showed faith in young spinner Josh Baker entrusting him to bowl the 10th and penultimate over with 22 needed and Graeme van Buuren in good form for Gloucestershire.

He held his nerve and conceded only four singles and collected the wicket of Jack Taylor to set up Leach to seal the victory with his fine last over.

Richardson said: “Was that brave? I wouldn’t say particularly brave. It was showing Joe thinking about the game. He noticed when we were batting that it was quite difficult to get spin away.

“It was a case of juggling young Josh (Baker) and young Adam (Finch) at the pavilion end and how they were going to do that and in what order they were going to do that.

“We always felt the wicket was quite tricky to bat on at times with the bounce, and also their spinners bowled well throughout.

“So it was always a case that, if Josh had to bowl at the end, it would be in the last powerplay when he had five fielders out, which would help him, and he held his nerve, like with Joe, brilliantly well.”

Richardson said on the Rapids overall performance: “I think we got more play than we expected. I thought we got off to a great start with the bat.

“It was a difficult wicket, we assessed it quite quickly, but the boys played positively the whole way through to give us what I thought was going to be a competitive score.

“What I was pleased with was the tempo we scored at, so we gave ourselves a chance, and we always felt, with us scoring at six an over that, whatever the Duckworth-Lewis score was going to be, it was going to be quite a challenge for them.

“Full credit to the boys. We kept trying to be positive throughout, and I knew it was going to be a competitive total when we lost time (to the weather).

“Who knows with Duckworth-Lewis when you get down to those (final) overs, but I thought the boys handled themselves brilliantly in what were quite difficult fielding conditions.”