Tuesday, April 2nd, 2024


Worcestershire Seconds launched their Championship programme with a 144 run win over Gloucestershire Seconds who were bowled out for 68 on the final morning at Kidderminster.

Pace bowler Yadvinder Singh bowled impressively in picking up a match return of 6-88 from 22.2 overs.

It was his first competitive fixture since joining Worcestershire from the South Asian Cricket Academy on a professional contract this winter.

But the game also provided an opportunity for several Worcestershire players to spend valuable time in the middle with bat or ball ahead of the opening Vitality County Championship opener with Warwickshire at Edgbaston beginning on Friday.

Club Captain, Brett D’Oliveira, occupied nearly three hours in the middle in his first knock since undergoing winter shoulder surgery in making a half century.

Kashif Ali, Adam Hose and Ed Pollock also made good contributions with the bat and Joe Leach continued to build up his overs with another 15 in total after knee surgery in January.

Spinner Josh Baker was rewarded with five wickets and Harry Darley showed his potential during his new ball spell on the final morning.

Assistant Coach, Richard Jones, said: “It was a very good four-days in the end. Obviously affected by rain on the first two days so both teams sorted out what we needed to get out of the game.

“We were hoping the weather would stay away to set up a game for the third and fourth innings which thankfully happened and it is always good to get a positive result.

“With Yadvinder, this game has probably been the best he has bowled in terms of his rhythm and his consistency.

“It is what we saw last year when he played for Warwickshire Seconds and one of the reasons we decided to sign him. Great for him to perform the way he did and to pick up six wickets in the game was pleasing.

“He did what he does, which is hit a nice length, make batters come forward and play forward defensive time and time again.

“He has settled into the group quite quickly when he joined us and that happens with most guys because we pride ourselves on our culture and environment.

“As a player, it is always nice to put in a performance early and he is going away feeling really good about himself and confident going into the next run of games.”

Jones added: “Dolly spent close to three hours at the crease and put on a really nice partnership with Tom (Taylor) in that first innings and he managed to get through some overs as well.

“We saw his normal dynamism in the field, throwing himself around a little bit, and it’s pleasing for him looking ahead to that first County Championship game on Friday against Warwickshire.

“With Ed Pollock, it was a very Ed Pollock type innings. He puts the opposition bowlers and captain under a lot of pressure when he bats like that. If you ask him, he will be a little disappointed with the way he got out and there was a hundred there for him to take.

“But pleasing to see him come back from Australia and show the same sort of form he demonstrated out there.

“The way the team bowled as a group was really pleasing. Harry Darley bowled really nicely in the second innings and Leachy got through the overs he needed to get through as well.

“Josh Baker is working on some stuff and for him to go out there and get some wickets as well was good news.”

Play was restricted to 37 overs on day one with Worcestershire reaching 111-4 after being put into bat.

D’Oliveira and Taylor extended their fifth wicket partnership to 120 on day two before the declaration at 188-5.

Taylor remained undefeated on 69 from 114 balls with one six and seven fours.

D’Oliveira made 51 off 122 balls with one six and five fours before he was lbw to Marchant de Lange.

Taylor also made the first breakthrough in his fourth over when Gloucestershire batted in holding onto a return catch after Zain Syed went for a pull and skied the ball on the off side.

But Taylor was involved in a collision with Ben Gibbon which meant the pair did not participate in the remainder of the game.

Singh soon made his mark with the ball in having James Bracey and Jack Taylor caught behind and he held onto a low return catch from Zaman Shafi (81).

Baker also chipped in with two wickets with Ahmed Syed lbw after attempting an ambitious sweep shot and Ed Middleton (64) taken at long on.

Gloucestershire declared on 203-6 from 61.4 overs – a lead of 15 runs – and then Pollock produced a typically aggressive knock to get the Worcestershire reply off to a flying start.

Pollock raced to 64 off 51 balls with two sixes and 12 fours and put on 78 for the second wicket with Kashif Ali who last week signed a new four-year contract at New Road.

Kashif (36) and Hose, with a breezy 48 with eight fours, added 51 for the third wicket and there were useful contributions from Leach (23) and Cullen (28) as Worcestershire were bowled out for 227 in 46.4 overs.

Baker struck with the final ball of the third day as Syed edged a delivery that nipped away through to Cullen as Gloucestershire closed on 23-1.

Gloucestershire lost their last nine wickets for 45 runs in 18.1 overs on the fourth day.

Darley, who signed his first rookie contract this winter, made the first two breakthroughs as Shafi chopped on and Bracey was caught behind off a delivery which bounced on him.

Singh then destroyed the middle order by picking up three wickets in the space of five overs and Baker accounted for Gloucestershire captain Jack Taylor.

Ethan Brookes polished off the innings by striking in successive overs to give Henry Cullen a total of six catches in the game in a polished performance.