Sunday, July 9th, 2023


Gareth Roderick is relishing having the opportunity to open the batting for Worcestershire with “prolific” Jake Libby and the “calming influence” he provides for the team ahead of Monday’s LV=Insurance County Championship encounter with Yorkshire at New Road.

Roderick has been promoted to open for the past two matches and seen the very best of Libby with his scores of 198, 97 and 78 in the draws with Sussex.

It has taken Libby’s run tally to 2,892 at an average of 49.01 in first class cricket with Worcestershire, including nine centuries, since he moved from Nottinghamshire at the start of the 2020 season.

The pair have featured in three fifty plus half century partnerships, and Roderick has also played a full part, including his excellent hundred on the final day against the Peakites.

He said: “Jake and I get on really well with each other and we communicate really well. We enjoy batting with each other, we bounce off each other a bit.

“He’s been prolific since joining Worcestershire, and it’s always reassuring knowing down the other end you’ve got someone who is a real sturdy, kind of calming influence, and Jake fits that.

“I’ve enjoyed batting with him, and hopefully, he has enjoyed batting with me and that we can stick a few big ones (partnerships) on this summer.

“We did say we need to kick on with one of these 50 partnerships and burn someone for 150-0, so hopefully, that is not too far around the corner.”

Head Coach Alan Richardson echoed Roderick’s sentiments about Libby.

He said: “Since Jake has joined us, his record has been fantastic and one of the best openers in the country, and long may that continue.

“He has really made Worcestershire his home, he really enjoys his cricket, everyone enjoys having him around, and the contributions that he makes are absolutely vital to us.

“He is doing one of the hardest jobs in cricket, hoping the batting in England, normally against the Dukes ball, so he should take great pride and confidence from his performances.

“It was good to see him play as well as he has in the last couple of games. He looked really fluent, played to his strengths, and has looked really comfortable at the crease.

“We are really hopeful that continues and that he finishes the season really strongly.”

Worcestershire have shown great skill and resilience on the final day of the last three Championship matches, and Richardson is hoping they can produce that form throughout the four days. 

He said: “The lads have shown an amazing amount of spirit and resilience and fight throughout the season.

“It will be nice to continue that and try and string together a couple of days of really good cricket to give ourselves a chance of picking up as many points as we can, and try and get a stranglehold on a game for the first time in a little while.

“We haven’t had that, so that is the next challenge for us, really. We are proving to be a good side, but we need to be better. 

“At the start of games, we have talked quite a lot about it, how to go about it and not waiting for the game to go too far to show off our skills.

“Hopefully, we will be able to do that in front of the members against a good Yorkshire side with some international players.”

Worcestershire have two blocks of three Championship matches remaining in their bid to gain promotion.

They entertain Yorkshire and visit Leicestershire (Oakham School) and Gloucestershire (Cheltenham College) by the end of July before resuming in September with the final trio of games.

Richardson said: “It would be good to have a strong three games, and there are some interesting challenges coming up within that.

“We’ve got Yorkshire at home, but then we play on two out grounds in Oakham School and Cheltenham College which are great venues and should provide some really good cricketing surfaces for us.

“A few of the guys wouldn’t have played at Oakham and Cheltenham, and they will throw up many different challenges.

“Leicestershire are playing some good red ball cricket, second in the table, and in the grand scheme of things, with the way the table is, it has quite a bit of significance.”

Worcestershire Club Captain Brett D’Oliveira is available after missing the draw against Derbyshire through illness, while Jack Haynes, unavailable for the game because of a knee injury, is also named in a 13-strong squad.