Sunday, July 30th, 2017

Seconds Striving To End Championship Programme On High Note

Seconds Striving To End Championship Programme On High Note

Worcestershire Seconds will be looking to continue their fine form in Championship cricket when they take on Nottinghamshire Seconds at Notts Sports Club, West Bridgford in their final game in the 2017 North Group tomorrow.

The Seconds produced an excellent performance to earn a draw against a powerful Yorkshire side at RGS Worcester last week.

That followed on from victory chasing in excess of 300 against Leicestershire in their previous game in the competition on the same ground.

Coach Kevin Sharp will select from the same group of players who challenged the Tykes all the way and moved into joint second spot in the table with the 12 points collected from the game.

Sharp said: "There is loads to play for. Lancashire are heading the group with a game in hand so we'd have to win and Lancs would probably have to make a bit of a mess of it over their last two games.

"But these things do happen and we will go in with the same philosophies as always, go hard to win the game and if it looks as if there is no natural conclusion, we will always look to see what we can do on the last day if the opposition are interested in that."

The forthcoming fixture will bring back happy memories for opener Ollie Westbury who scored his first hundred for the Seconds at Notts Sports Club two years ago – a match in which England paceman Chris Woakes played when on loan from Warwickshire.

George Scrimshaw will be looking to continue on from his burst of wickets against Yorkshire – 5-12 in one of the T20 matches and four in the second innings of the Championship fixture.

Sharp was delighted with the performance in the drawn Championship match at RGS Worcester with a Yorkshire side including Liam Plunkett, Ryan Sidebottom, Ben Coad and Jack Brooks.

Alex Milton (91), a first five-wicket haul for Adam Finch and another fine all-round performance from Alex Hepburn were amongst the highlights.

Sharp said: "Our lads were very resilient and the game was played in a hard fashion. We were inserted on the first morning and with an attack like that (Sidebottom, Coad, Plunkett and Brooks) the lads had to show some real determination and skill.

"It was great to watch actually. There were some great individual performances and we made a very competitive score and then we bowled them out for 180-190 odd. It was great to see.

"We set Yorkshire 264 in 53 overs. The game had only gone at three runs an over right through so we left them five an over.

"In all fairness Alex Lees, who I've known since he was young at Yorkshire, came in and absolutely dominated from ball one. He decided he was going to knock them off and played out of his skin.

"The lads didn't bowl badly, he played really well, had a bit of luck. We weren't for some of the time at our best in the field, generally okay, but there were two or three lapses which cost us a few runs.

"It is something the lads are aware of and when they play first team cricket, they just need to be that little bit more on the ball with that but you expect that with young players as part of their growth and development and that sort of thing.

"It is my job to make them aware that occasionally they just need to step up a bit for the next standard but generally overall they are absolutely terrific.

"It was great to play such a strong side and I would always welcome that in second team cricket.

"If the opposition is strong, it gives us the opportunity to look at our own players and see what they've got in the tank and how they can manage and cope against high class opposition.

"I quite relish that prospect and I think they did."

Milton's 91 enabled Worcestershire to recover from a testing start on the opening day and continued the form he has shown for Cardiff MCCU and Cardiff CC this summer.

Sharp said: "It was a good knock and he 'wore' a couple of well. There were a couple of lethal deliveries in there that struck him but he is a tough competitor and very skilful and a smart, intelligent cricketer.

"He loved the battle, he loved the challenge and even when he practices, he is always prepared to be challenged and having those sorts of skills came to fruition within the match himself.

"He is at Cardiff University so we don't see a lot of him for the first half of the season but he has done well for them, he has done well for his club side (Cardiff CC).

"Probably when he came back to us, he probably wasn't at his best for the first few matches but he has settled back into our group and showed us what he can do over the last two games."

Sharp believes Hepburn will be challenging for a senior spot if he maintains his recent form.

He said: "Alex's form in the last six weeks has been excellent so he is pushing for a place in all formats.

"I'm sure Bumpy (Steve Rhodes) has got his eye on him so he just needs to keep producing really and I'm sure there will be an opportunity for him at some point."

Seconds (from):





Milton (w)


Jack Haynes



Morris (c)