Saturday, July 29th, 2023


Worcestershire have climbed into the second promotion spot after clinching a fourth LV=Insurance County Championship win of the season with a 110 run success over Gloucestershire at Cheltenham College.

They completed an excellent all-round performance by bowling out the home side on the final day for 311 after tea.

Victory moved Worcestershire 14 points clear of third placed Glamorgan heading into the three remaining fixtures in September.

They sealed back-to-back Championship wins for the first time since the beginning of the 2019 season when they triumphed over Leicestershire and Durham.

The Worcestershire seamers performed superbly to finished off the job today in impressive style after captain, Brett D’Oliveira, declared at the overnight total of 316-8 and set a 422 target.

Adam Finch (4-80) and Dillon Pennington (4-57) picked up four wickets each but Joe Leach’s contribution of 2-57 was also a significant factor with two key scalps.

It was a disciplined bowling performance throughout the game after the batters had brought about a splendid recovery on day one from 15-3, 99-5 and 182-7.

D’Oliveira, Gareth Roderick, Matthew Waite and Josh Baker all made substantial first innings contributions with centurion Jake Libby, D’Oliveira and Waite, with the fastest fifty in Worcestershire history in terms of balls faced, leading the way when they batted again.

There were a total of six 50 plus partnerships involving Worcestershire players during the game.

They will now switch their attention to the Metro Bank One Day Cup programme throughout August full of confidence.

Leach made the first breakthrough during an excellent opening spell of 7-2-15-1 from the College Lawn End.

Chris Dent (24) pushed forward to Leach  and nicked through to Libby who held onto the chance at third slip with 37 on the board.

It was Leach’s 40th wicket of the season.

Finch replaced Pennington at the Chapel End and he struck the second blow in dismissing Joe Phillips (26).

He looked to work the ball to leg and top edged the ball onto the off side where D’Oliveira ran in from point to take the catch.

Finch then claimed the prized scalp of Gloucestershire’s first innings centurion Ollie Price (14).

D’Oliveira set an adventurous ‘V’ fielding formation with two players positioned at silly mid-off and silly mid-on.

Price was tempted by a delivery short of a length and another top edge was safely caught by Leach at deep fine leg with the total 76-3.

Miles Hammond and James Bracey dug in for a spell after lunch but, as has been the case throughout the game, two wickets fell in quick succession.

Leach ended a partnership of 53 when Bracey (19) pushed forward and Roderick clung onto a sharp chance diving in front of second slip.

Pennington came back into the attack and the fourth ball of his spell brought more joy for Worcestershire.

Tom Price prodded forward to his fourth delivery of the spell and Roderick did the rest.

Finch then struck in successive overs to reduce Gloucestershire to 190-7.

He ended the resistance of Miles Hammond (64) who went for a pull shot and bottom edged the ball onto his stumps.

Zafar Gohar (5) suffered the same fate when squared up by a Finch delivery angled into the stumps.

Gloucestershire were 192-7 at tea when Finch had figures of 13-2-47-4.

But after tea they came up against determined resistance from the Taylor brothers, Jack and Matt who dug in for 27 overs.

It was the second new ball that proved decisive with Pennington striking twice in the space of three balls.

Jack Taylor (98) dragged a delivery onto his stumps and then Zaman Akhtar (0) was taken low down by Josh Baker at first slip.

Pennington then wrapped up victory by bowling Paul van Meereken (7) with 8.5 overs to spare.