Bob Willis Trophy
Bob Willis Trophy Logo Sat 22 - Tue 25 Aug, 11:00

Blackfinch New Road, Worcester

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Match Report: Worcestershire v Warwickshire, Bob Willis Trophy

Day Four

Worcestershire’s home Bob Willis Trophy Central Group encounter with Warwickshire was an early victim of the weather after heavy overnight rain.

Umpires Rob Baily and Jeremy Lloyds decided no play would be possible after inspecting a saturated outfield and play was abandoned at 10.25am.

There were puddles on the covers and outfield and more heavy rain started falling shortly after the decision was taken.

The two teams both collect 13 points from a game dominated by the bat in which only 16 wickets fell in three days.

Day Three – Close

Daryl Mitchell completed his first century against visiting Warwickshire in first class cricket as Worcestershire secured four batting points to boost their hopes of qualifying from the Bob Willis Trophy Central Group.

The veteran opener has now scored first class hundreds for Worcestershire against all other counties except Surrey as his side eked out a first innings lead of 55 with their third 400 plus score in four matches in the competition.

Their solid performances with the bat have been in stark contrast to their failings with the bat in the County Championship last season.

Only once did they top 400 – in the opening game against Leicestershire at the Fischer County Ground – and this was another indication that the extra work put in during the winter to improve at red ball cricket is paying dividends. 

Half centuries from Jack Haynes and Tom Fell plus late momentum provided by Ben Cox and Ed Barnard built on the efforts of Mitchell and fellow opener Jake Libby and enabled Worcestershire, who are vying with Somerset for top spot, to total 410-7 in their 120 overs.

Warwickshire paceman Oliver Hannon-Dalby was rewarded for his persistence on a slow pitch still offering little encouragement for the bowlers with three wickets.

The visitors made a solid start to their reply with openers Will Rhodes – a double century-maker in the first innings – and Rob Yates putting on an unbroken 68 either side of a short break for bad light.

With heavy rain forecast tomorrow, the likeliest outcome would appear to be a draw but the 13 points Worcestershire would accrue should that be the case would keep them well in contention – with Somerset due to visit Blackfinch New Road for the final group game on September 6.

Worcestershire resumed on 170 and only seven runs had been added in six overs when Hannon-Dalby made a breakthrough courtesy of a superb catch by Tim Bresnan.

Jake Libby on 84 got a thick edge and Bresnan at slip held onto the chance at full stretch one-handed away to his right.

The former Nottinghamshire player had batted for nearly four hours and struck seven fours in his 189 ball knock. 

His tally of 417 runs in the competition has only been surpassed by Ben Slater (Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire).

A single to third man off Craig Miles took Mitchell to three figures from 223 deliveries with 12 boundaries. It was his 37th first class hundred for the County since making his debut 15 years ago.

The 35-year-old advanced to 110 before he drove Miles to cover point where Rob Yates held another sharp catch with the total 214-2.

Fell, fresh from his first hundred in five years at Northampton last week, and Jack Haynes upped the tempo during a stand of 89 in only 23 overs.

Haynes gave another demonstration of his potential with some powerful strokes and Fell went down the wicket to Alex Thomson to bring up the 250 and a second batting point with a lofted straight drive.

A single off Thomson took Haynes to his half century from 77 balls – a rapid effort in the context of the game – with seven fours before on 51 he was caught at deep mid-off from the bowling of Ryan Sidebottom.

Fell completed a 96 ball half-century with seven fours before he was yorked by Hannon-Dalby who in the same over bowled Riki Wessels (0) via an inside edge.

Brett D’Oliveira (15) was lbw to Bresnan for 15 at 325-6 but Cox and Barnard ensured a fourth batting point was secured in a stand of 82 in 14 overs.

Cox continued the run of important late order contributions he has made this summer in racing to 43 off 51 balls before he was lbw to Will Rhodes in the final over of the innings to leave Barnard unbeaten on 29.

Hannon-Dalby’s final figures of 26-9-70-3 were well deserved for his perseverance which mirrored that of Charlie Morris (23-3-80-5) for Worcestershire.

Rhodes (42 not out) and Yates (21 not out) experienced few problems in the 23 overs possible in Warwickshire’s second innings as they wiped out their side’s first innings deficit and earned a lead of 13.

Day Two

Warwickshire captain Will Rhodes scored his maiden double century before Worcestershire openers Daryl Mitchell and Jake Libby launched a powerful response on day two of the Bob Willis Trophy encounter at Blackfinch New Road.

Rhodes extended his overnight 142 not out – already a career best – to 207 before he became one of five victims of Worcestershire paceman Charlie Morris.

The 25-year-old helped Warwickshire secure three batting points as they reached 355-9 declared shortly after lunch.

It was an impressive and composed contribution from the former Yorkshire CCC all-rounder who replaced Jeetan Patel as Bears skipper during the winter.

Rhodes gave only one chance – on 123 off Mitchell yesterday evening – and received excellent support from England Under-19 player Dan Mousley (47) during a fourth wicket stand of 128 in 40 overs.

Mitchell would have admired the powers of concentration shown by Rhodes, who batted for more than eight hours, as someone renowned himself for occupying the crease.

He demonstrated for the umpteenth time the same sort of qualities in making a half century – his third of the campaign – as he and Libby posted a century partnership in 39 overs.

By the close Mitchell had moved onto an unbeaten 85 from 183 balls with 10 fours and Libby 80 not out from 167 deliveries with seven boundaries.

Home keeper Ben Cox collected five more catches to take his tally to 22 – the highest in the competition – as Warwickshire lost late wickets in an effort to force the pace in their 120 overs.

But on a sluggish, unresponsive pitch, offering little encouragement to the bowlers and described as “turgid” by Warwickshire batsmen Sam Hain, it is hard to imagine anything but a draw particularly with an uncertain weather forecast on the horizon.

Rhodes, whose previous highest score of 137 was achieved against Gloucestershire at Edgbaston two years ago, reached his 200 with a pull for a single off Ed Barnard 15 minutes before lunch.

It was completed from 321 balls and contained 21 fours.

Warwickshire, who resumed on 228-3, stepped up the tempo today in search of bonus points on a slow pitch.

Rhodes brought up the 250 with a pull to the ropes at Worcestershire Club Captain Joe Leach’s expense and then collected 4-2-4-2 off successive deliveries from the same bowler.

Mousley was playing only his second first class match and showed the promise evident when impressing in the winter Under-19s ICC World Cup before

Worcestershire broke through with two wickets in successive overs.

Morris induced an edge from Mousley, who faced 134 balls and hit five fours, through to Cox who then held onto a nick from Michael Burgess (1) in the next over from Ed Barnard.

But Worcestershire had to be content with one bowling point as Warwickshire ended on 319-5 from 110 overs.

New batsman Tim Bresnan made a breezy 17 before pulling Morris into the hands of Jake Libby at deep square leg.

Rhodes eventually succumbed to Morris when he nicked through to Cox after going for a big hit down the ground. In total he faced 328 balls and struck 22 boundaries.

Cox picked up his fifth catch of the innings – a fine effort away to his right – to account for Thomson (14) off Tongue on the stroke of lunch.

Morris completed his five wicket haul when Craig Miles (1) skied a catch to Brett D’Oliveira at mid-wicket shortly before the declaration.

When Worcestershire launched their reply, Mitchell and Libby, recruited last winter from Nottinghamshire, continued their recent good form and posted a century stand in 39 overs.

Neither batsman was particularly troubled with Mitchell first to a half century off 103 balls with a steer to third man off Oliver Hannon-Dalby for his seventh boundary.

Libby followed him to fifty with a single off Ryan Sidebottom – from 122 balls with four fours.

Day One – Close

Will Rhodes hit his career best score and first century since being appointed Warwickshire captain to frustrate Bob Willis Trophy Central Group leaders Worcestershire on the opening day of the derby clash at Edgbaston.

The 25-year-old ended unbeaten on 142 from 263 balls with 15 fours as the Bears closed on 228-3 from 90 overs are being put into bat by home skipper Joe Leach.

It surpassed his previous highest of 137 against Gloucestershire at Edgbaston in August 2018.

Rhodes received admirable support from Sam Hain (55) in a second wicket partnership of 165 from 60 overs on a flat and sluggish pitch.

He completed the sixth first class century of his career just two balls after tea with one of his few false strokes when he edged former England Under-19 team-mate Ed Barnard to the third man boundary.

It came from 181 balls and contained 13 fours.

Rhodes took over as skipper after Jeetan Patel had stepped down from the role last winter and had begun the season in decent form with three 40 plus scores in the BWT without fully capitalizing on those platforms.

But today he batted with great solidity and composure in laying a solid foundation for Warwickshire to build a substantial total tomorrow in their remaining 30 first innings overs

Rhodes gave only one chance when on 123 with Tom Fell at mid-on spilling the chance off Daryl Mitchell.

Worcestershire went into the game a single point ahead of Somerset and needing a substantial points haul in the battle to secure a place in next month’s Lord’s final.

They will have to overcome history as their local rivals have won the last eight first class meetings between the sides and are unbeaten in that format of the game against Worcestershire for two decades.

But their bowlers deserve credit for sticking to their task in the benign conditions and restricting the Bears to around two and a half runs per over despite Rhodes excellent knock.

Worcestershire showed one change from the line-up which had triumphed at Northampton in mid-week with Charlie Morris replacing fellow paceman Dillon Pennington.

Warwickshire made two changes – one enforced – from the drawn home game versus Somerset with Dan Mousley and Ryan Sidebottom replacing the injured Matt Lamb and Henry Brookes.

Morris made the breakthrough when Rob Yates (2) was squared up by a delivery which he nicked through to Riki Wessels at first slip with 13 on the board.

Rhodes immediately looked in good touch and turned Morris through mid-wicket for the first boundary of the innings while Hain slowly played himself back into form after scores of 6,8,0,1 and 7 to start the campaign.

He waited patiently until his 47th delivery before dispatching Morris for his first four.

The Warwickshire pair accumulated in unhurried and untroubled fashion and the 100 partnership with Hain came up in 42 overs 

Hain (55) eventually fell to Ed Barnard when he flicked at a legside delivery and keeper Ben Cox pulled off another fine one-handed catch.

There was more joy for Worcestershire in the next over when Ian Bell (1) drove at Leach and perished to a smart catch by Barnard at point at 179-3 in the 67th over.

But Rhodes who achieved his career best with a single off Brett D’Oliveira, and Dan Mousley (18 not out) saw Warwickshire to the close without any further alarms.     

Match Preview: Worcestershire v Warwickshire, Bob Willis Trophy

Team changes are likely after the Bears were outplayed by Somerset at Edgbaston, escaping with a draw only due to rain on the final day. One change will be enforced by injury as Matt Lamb sustained a cracked big toe while batting in that match so will be out for at least two weeks.

He joins Liam Norwell and Adam Hose (back injuries) and Olly Stone (side strain) on the injured list, though all are expected to be fit to play a part in the Vitality Blast campaign which begins at home to Somerset a week today.

First up comes the red-ball derby at New Road where first team coach Jim Troughton wants his team to go out and play with the freedom to show the ability they clearly possess and have shown before.

“I know that these guys, if they put in the performances they are capable of, can win the next two Bob Willis Trophy games ,” the coach said. “We just need to take the pressure off them that they seem to be feeling at the moment when they go over that white line.

“The Somerset game was a bruising one for us, especially in the context of our two previous matches in which we built winning positions but didn’t force them home. We knew that Somerset are a strong side and it would be a benchmark game for us and they showed us how it should be done. 

“They buried us in the third innings and we were very lucky to escape with a draw. We need to learn from that and bounce back hard and that’s what we intend to do at Worcester.

“We had a meeting after the game on Tuesday similar to one we had after a poor performance against Hampshire last season. That time we responded with very good performances against Surrey and Yorkshire and I expect the same sort of reaction again.”

Jim Troughton

With the Blast campaign drawing near, the Bears will be in action on two fronts  this weekend. While they strive to reassert themselves in the Bob Willis Trophy at New Road, on Sunday they will play two T20s against Staffordshire to give some white-ball practice to players not-involved at Worcester. 

“We won’t have much time, just one day’s full practice after the Worcestershire game, so Sunday will be an opportunity for the guys not playing red-ball cricket to get some white-ball practice,” said Troughton. 

“We’re looking forward to welcoming back the injured guys soon. It’s disappointing to lose Matt Lamb for the immediate term. Even though he was in a lot of discomfort, he was going to bat, if required, in the second innings on the final day against Somerset and it’s a measure of him that he was keen to get out there and help us to a draw if he could.”

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