Recent Match Report – WORCS vs Leics Division 2 2022

Leicestershire 42 for 3 trail Worcestershire 348 (D’Oliveira 118*, Leach 70, Barnard 57, Wright 3-53) by 306

An unbeaten century by Brett D’Oliveira in his first match as club captain put Worcestershire in a strong position after two days of their opening LV= County Championship match against Leicestershire.

The 30-year-old allrounder, handed the job after Joe Leach stepped down at the end of last season, compiled a fine, measured innings to finish on 118 not out as the visitors to the Uptonsteel County Ground posted a first-innings total of 348. At the close, Leicestershire were 42 for 3 in reply, having been six for three after Leach and Charlie Morris took early wickets with the new ball.

D’Oliveira had survived a difficult chance at third slip on 3 on the first evening but otherwise played superbly, backed up by half-centuries from Leach (70) and Ed Barnard (57). His innings spanned almost six hours.

He is the first member of a distinguished cricketing dynasty to be officially appointed captain, an honour bestowed on neither his grandfather, the celebrated England batter and first-team coach Basil, nor his late father, the allrounder and former academy director Damian.

He led the side when Leach was injured during the 2018 season and was skipper in place of Moeen Ali when Worcestershire Rapids won the Vitality Blast the same season and finished as runners-up the following year. But he described being given the role in his own name as the fulfilment of a boyhood dream and looked to the heavens in an emotional celebration on reaching his hundred, the ninth of his career in first-class matches.

It came after he had punished a short, wide ball from the South African pace bowler Beuran Hendricks with the 14th of his 16 fours, having also lofted a six off left-arm spinner Callum Parkinson.

After Worcestershire resumed at 118 for 4 following a rain-disrupted opening day, D’Oliveira played the anchor role in a stand of 94 with Barnard, who struck nine fours in a 65-ball half-century before falling leg before to Ed Barnes, who followed up quickly by having Ben Cox caught behind.

At 155 for 6, Worcestershire’s innings looked vulnerable, but Leach found the offside boundary off his third ball and the alliance of captain and former captain prospered for 31 overs either side of lunch, adding 127. Leach passed fifty with his ninth boundary off 71 balls but when he tried to sweep Ackermann to the long boundary on the Milligan Road side he miscued his stroke and Barnes, at deep square leg, ran forward to take the catch.

Barnes had Josh Baker leg before to join Wright in taking three wickets in the innings before Ben Mike wrapped up by bowling Morris middle stump and having Dillon Pennington caught behind.

Leicestershire made a calamitous start to their reply, left rocking at 6 for 3 with Sam Evans bowled by Leach not offering a stroke and both George Rhodes and Hassan Azad falling to spectacular catches.

Wicketkeeper Cox completed the first, one-handed diving to his right, on the rebound, after Barnard had failed to hold an edge by Rhodes off Morris to third slip, and Baker the second, a low grab to his left at fourth slip, as Azad edged Leach.

Lewis Hill survived a chance to second slip off Morris on 15 before rain ended an extended day 20.4 overs early.

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