Tuesday, September 21st, 2021

WORCESTERSHIRE TAKE EARLY CONTROL AFTER SECURING MAXIMUM BOWLING POINTS

Worcestershire CCC collected maximum bowling points on the opening day of the final LV=Insurance County Championship match of 2021 after bowling Leicestershire out for 222 at a sun-drenched New Road.

Club Captain Joe Leach continued his recent good form by picking up three more wickets and he and fellow paceman Dillon Pennington impressed with both new balls.

Spinner Josh Baker again demonstrated his outstanding potential and showed great control in returning 2-31 from 20 overs.

The Leicestershire players then provided a guard of honour for opener Daryl Mitchell as he made his way to the wicket for the penultimate time in his final first class match before retiring.

He was caught at second slip off Chris Wright after making eight but there was time for Jake Libby to complete 1,000 runs for the season as Worcestershire closed on 30-1.

It was a good cricket wicket with enough encouragement for the seamers if they put the ball in the right areas and showing early signs of turn but also with enough pace to allow batsmen to play their shots.

Leach took the new ball for Worcestershire in his final official match as Club Captain and struck in his second over.

Hasan Azad (2) had already survived one confident lbw shout when he pushed forward to Leach and nicked through to Mitchell who held a sharp catch away to his right at second slip.

Rishi Patel twice straight drove Leach for four and he repeated the shot against Pennington.

Leach could have picked up a second wicket when Rishi Patel on 14 was dropped by Mitchell but it did not prove costly.

Ed Barnard came into the attack for Leach (7-2-20-1) and his fourth ball accounted for Patel (22) who lofted a catch straight to Leach at mid-off.

Baker had his first bowl from the Diglis End and his first delivery bounced sharply against former Worcestershire batsman George Rhodes.

Pennington returned to the attack and Rhodes (27) attempted to leave the ball but only succeeded in edging through to Jack Haynes at first slip much to his annoyance.

Lewis Hill looked in good touch after overcoming an early leg before appeal by Charlie Morris as Leicestershire reached 88-3 from 31 overs at lunch.

He advanced to 40 from only 65 balls but then his downfall when play resumed was the catalyst for a flurry of wickets.

Hill went for an expansive drive against Barnard and provided Haynes with his second catch at first slip.

Baker settled into a good line and length and struck in successive overs to reduce Leicestershire to 133-6.

Ben Mike (3) one pace down the wicket to Baker but only picked out Jake Libby at mid off and then debutant Sam Bates (0) popped up a catch at Haynes at short leg.

Morris, who had taken six wickets in the second innings at Lordโ€™s, gained some tangible reward for his efforts when he bowled Ed Barnes (13) with a delivery angled back into him.

Louis Kimber had hit his maiden Championship half century for Leicestershire in the previous match against Sussex and he again looked composed and compact.

He brought up his 124 ball fifty with his eighth boundary a back foot square drive at Barnardโ€™s expense.

The second new ball brought a swift end to the Leicestershire innings with the last three wickets falling in the space of 15 deliveries.

Leach trapped Kimber lbw and bowled Chris Wright (2) while Callum Parkinson (17) also went leg before.

After Mitchellโ€™s dismissal, Libby (16 not out) and nightwatchman Morris (six not out) saw Worcestershire through to the close.