Thursday, March 18th, 2021


Riki Wessels scored a century – including an incredible NINETY-SIX in boundaries – and there was a debut fifty for Gareth Roderick as Worcestershire piled up the runs on day one of the pre-season friendly with Somerset at Taunton.

Then new ball bowlers Worcestershire Club Captain Joe Leach and Dillon Pennington were primarily responsible for reducing the home side to 122-7 by the close in reply to 305-5 from the permitted 60 overs.

It was the ideal start to preparations out in the middle for Worcestershire, who have ten days of warm-up cricket before the County Championship opener with Essex at Chelmsford in three weeks.

Wessels smashed 24 fours on his way to a 107 ball hundred before retiring out for 101 after Somerset had put in Worcestershire to bat in the two-day fixture.

Roderick also quickly made his mark after his move from Gloucestershire on a three-year contract, making an accomplished 53 off 96 balls before he was unluckily run out.

He shared a third-wicket partnership of 121 in 29 overs with Wessels.

Ross Whiteley continued the run feast with a rapid 79 not out before Leach and Pennington made their quickfire impact with the ball.

With Daryl Mitchell and Jake Libby practising hard at Kidderminster this afternoon, Tom Fell (5) and Josh Dell (0) opened the batting. They departed lbw in successive overs from Josh Davey and Somerset captain Craig Overton.

Roderick and Wessels played watchfully against the new ball attack, with 27 runs coming from the first ten overs.

But the duo then opened their shoulders to good effect.

Kasey Aldridge was struck for three successive boundaries by Roderick, who also despatched him for six in his first over.

Wessels dealt almost solely in boundaries, including three in an over from Ned Leonard. 

He brought up his half-century – off 62 balls – with his 12th four, off the returning Overton.

It also completed the century stand with Roderick, from 137 balls, and Worcestershire went into lunch on 110-2 from 29 overs.

Roderick went to his half-century when play resumed with a two off Marchant de Lange in the second over of the afternoon. It came from 87 balls and contained one six and nine fours.

Roderick was unfortunate after adding three more runs when bowler Davey deflected a shot from Wessels onto the stumps – but it was a confident start by our new signing.

Whiteley joined Wessels to continue the run spree. They put on 71 in nine overs before Wessels retired out shortly after reaching three figures.

After the dismissal of Jack Haynes (18), caught at slip from a Leonard delivery, Whiteley accelerated to a 59-ball half-century with two sixes and eight fours.

Alex Milton got in on the act with successive sixes off spinner Lewis Goldsworthy.

The partnership between Whiteley – 79 not out off 82 balls with three sixes and 12 fours – and Milton (36 not out) was worth an unbroken 67 in 8.5 overs before the innings closed.

Leach soon had Somerset reeling when he broke through in his first over as Ben Green (4) edged a ball that moved away through to keeper Milton.

Pennington struck twice in three balls as Tom Lammonby (0) was also caught behind, and James Hildreth (0) drove to Ed Barnard at backward point.

Leach picked up another scalp when he trapped George Bartlett (10) lbw, and then ex Worcestershire keeper Steve Davies (17) holed out on the off-side to Haynes.

The new ball bowlers were rested, with Leach having figures of 6-1-32-3 and Pennington 6-2-13-2, but Adam Finch soon struck as Ed Byrom (28) provided Milton with a third catch, this time down the leg side.

With Barnard also picking up a wicket, Somerset was kept on the back foot.