Saturday, April 3rd, 2021


Riki Wessels continued his impressive form by scoring his second century of Worcestershire CCC’s pre-season programme against Kent at Canterbury.

Wessels reached three figures off only 104 balls with two sixes and 15 fours in another display of thrilling batting.

It followed on from Wessels hundred against Somerset at Taunton when he scored 96 in boundaries.

Newcomer Gareth Roderick hit his second half-century of the warm-up fixtures and shared in a century stand for the sixth wicket with Wessels.

There was also time for Club Captain Joe Leach to become the eighth Worcestershire player to score a half-century or more during the four pre-season games.

Both teams batted for a full day irrespective of how many wickets were lost, and Worcestershire closed on 288-10 from 81.3 overs in reply to Kent’s 280-14 from 80 overs on Friday.

It completed their ten days of pre-season action ahead of Thursday’s County Championship opener with Essex at Chelmsford.

The County’s openers Daryl Mitchell and Jake Libby got off to a positive start in cold conditions, which saw the Kent close fielders wearing bobble hats.

Libby collected the first boundary of the day with a leg glance off Podmore and then cover drove the same bowler off the back foot for another four.

Mitchell cut Darren Stevens to the ropes and flicked Podmore off his legs for his second boundary.

Libby (12) edged a delivery from Nathan Gilchrist and fell to a fine low one-handed catch at second slip by Zak Crawley.

Mitchell went lbw to a Matt Milnes inswinger, and in the next over, Tom Fell (2) went for a drive and edged Gilchrist through to keeper Ollie Robinson.

Jack Haynes (0) was leg before to a ball of full length from Fred Klassen, and Brett D’Oliveira (5) nicked a ball slanted across him by the same bowler through to Crawley.

Wessels (15 not out) was immediately full of positive intent and produced a handsome off drive down the ground for his first boundary as he and Roderick (16 not out) steered Worcestershire to 83-5 off 30 overs by lunch.

The sixth-wicket pair dominated proceedings during the afternoon session, and Roderick set the tone with successive boundaries off his legs at Grant Stewart’s expense.

Wessels brought up his half-century – off 60 balls – with his 10th four via a cut off Tim Groenwald.

He then went into overdrive and completed the century partnership from 130 deliveries in an exciting fashion by pulling Stewart over the mid-wicket boundary.

Darren Stevens received the same six-hitting treatment – over long-on – before Roderick’s half-century came up when he steered Podmore through the legside.

The stand was worth 130 in 27 overs when Roderick (51) attempted to drive Podmore and edged to Jordan Cox at slip.

Wessels moved into the 90s with a cover drive off former Worcestershire paceman Miguel Cummins before Ben Cox (1) was lbw to Matt Milnes.

He reached three figures with a pull through mid-wicket off Cummins for his 15th four before giving his applauding team-mates a big thumbs-up.

Ed Barnard (8) did not play a shot when bowled by the final delivery before tea from Matt Milnes.

Wessels retired out on 101 at the interval, and then Club Captain Joe Leach produced some fine strokes during a 10th wicket stand with Libby.

He collected four boundaries in the space of six deliveries off Cummins spanning two overs and smote Klassen over mid-wicket for six to bring up the 250.

Leach scored 41 of the half-century partnership with Libby (13 not out) and reached a half-century from 78 balls with a one six and ten fours before he was stumped on 51 off Leaning to bring an end to the game.

*Head Coach Alex Gidman confirmed West Indies paceman Alzarri Joseph would fly into England tomorrow (Sunday) to begin his spell as Worcestershire’s overseas player. He is available for seven County Championship matches.