Thursday, April 20th, 2023


Worcestershire marked their return to New Road by claiming maximum bowling points on a see-saw opening day of their LV=County Championship match with Gloucestershire at New Road. 

The new ball attack of Joe Leach and Ben Gibbon reduced Gloucestershire to 24-5 with some superb bowling and delighted home supporters in a decent-sized crowd. 

A fine maiden century from Tom Price led a recovery by Gloucestershire to an all-out total of 231 from 54.4 overs, and he then continued an outstanding individual performance by taking a hat-trick. 

But a composed unbeaten 37 from Matthew Waite, a century-maker in the win over Derbyshire, enabled Worcestershire to reach 118-7 by the close. 

Leach finished with 4-49 as he continued his fine start to the season, which included him taking his 400th first class wicket for Worcestershire against Durham. 

Worcestershire made two changes from the side in action at Durham, with keeper Ben Cox and pace bowler Josh Tongue returning to the side. 

Cox replaced Gareth Roderick, who injured his thumb in training, for his second Championship appearance in 11 months and Tongue is being rotated on a match-on-match-off basis after his career-threatening shoulder problem. 

Leach and Gibbon quickly hit their straps with the new ball and soon had the visitors on the back foot. 

Left armer Gibbon had returned his career-best match figures of 6-147 at Durham, and his first over brought two wickets in two balls. 

He has worked on being as effective with the new ball as in his later spells, and it again paid dividends. 

Chris Dent edged a back-of-the-length delivery to second slip, and the next delivery accounted for James Bracey, who fended to gulley. 

Leach then accounted for Miles Hammond, who drove into the hands of Jake Libby at fourth slip before claiming the prized wicket of Marcus Harris. 

The Australian had scored 59 and 148 on his debut against Glamorgan, and yesterday was named in his country’s squad for the World Championship final and the opening two Ashes Tests. 

But he contributed only a single before he played back to Leach and was lbw. 

Ollie Price departed in the same manner, and van Buuren top-edged a pull to Cox off Dillon Pennington. 

Jack Taylor has scored four of his seven Championship centuries for Gloucestershire, but this time fell to a fine catch from Gibbon running back from mid-off to give Pennington his second scalp. 

Price spearheaded a fightback by his side. Zafar Gohar helped him add 44 before Ben Cox held onto a fine low catch away to his left to provide Leach with his fourth wicket.  

Marchant de Lange also provided support for Price before he top-edged an attempted pull at Josh Tongue and skied another catch to Cox. 

Price reached three figures from 93 balls with four sixes and 11 fours. 

His superb innings ended in an unfortunate manner on 109 when Dale Ajeet Singh straight drove Matthew Waite, who deflected the ball onto the stumps at the non-striker’s end with Price out of his ground. 

When Worcestershire batted, openers Jake Libby When Worcestershire batted and Ed Pollock were relatively untroubled in posting a half-century stand in 14.3 overs. 

Pollock cover drove De Lange for four and Libby cut Zafar Gohar to the ropes. 

But then four wickets fell in the space of eight balls for one run as Tom Price again to 

Dale made the first breakthrough in trapping Libby lbw, and then came Tom Price’s hat-trick. 

Azhar Ali, Haynes and D’Oliveira were all caught behind by keeper Bracey. 

Waite was quickly into his stride with successive boundaries off Price. 

Pollock batted responsibly in making 34 before he inside-edged a Tom Price delivery, and Bracey again held onto the chance low to his right. 

Waite continued to bat with freedom and twice pulled De Lange for further fours. 

Cox (15) helped him to add 31 for the sixth wicket before he was lbw to Dale, and the same bowler had Leach (1) caught at gulley.