Neil Pinner was given his First Class debut in the LV= Championship match against Nottinghamshire at New Road. The only other change from the previous match was the inclusion of Jack Shantry in the place of Richard Jones. In the continued absence of Daryl Mitchell, Moeen Ali once again skippered the side. Chris Read won the toss for the visitors who elected to bat first in overcast and slightly blustery conditions. As has been the case in most matches this season the new ball partnership of Damien Wright and Alan Richardson worked very well in combination, making life difficult for the Nottinghamshire batsmen in the first session. Riki Wessels, making his Nottinghamshire First Class debut batted well but still was beaten by the occasional delivery and could have been dismissed on a few occasions. The first wicket to fall was that of Akhil Patel after a watchful innings being tempted to edge a catch to keeper Ben Scott off the bowling of Richardson for 8. The same combination picked up the next wicket fifteen balls later with Mark Wagh dismissed for 3.
Gareth Andrew picked up a wicket in the first over of his spell removing the dangerous Samit Patel, to a catch at 1st slip by Vikram Solanki for 4. Andrew also claimed the wicket of Wessels, trapping him LBW with a ball that appeared to stay low for 67. The home side went into lunch in a healthy position with the visitors on 105-4.
After the interval Adam Voges (31) and Steven Mullaney (25) completed a 5th wicket stand of 48 before they were both dismissed within two overs of each other by the hard working Wright who richly deserved the wickets, both to catches by Scott. The Nottinghamshire skipper Read and Paul Franks attempted to rally the visitors with a 7th wicket stand of 47 before Read became Scott's fifth victim of the match for 37, off the bowling of Richardson. Nottinghamshire reached the tea interval on 213-7.
After the tea interval Worcestershire wrapped up the Nottinghamshire tail in just 21 balls with the addition of just 10 more runs with Wright picking up his third wicket and Moeen Ali taking two wickets as the visitors were bowled out for 223. Franks was LBW for 19 in the first over after tea and Andre Adams followed four balls later skying a catch to Wright at long leg for 21. The last wicket to fall was that of Charlie Shreck, cleaned bowled for 0.
In the 26 overs left before the close of play Worcestershire reached 77-2. James Cameron was trapped LBW for 1 off the bowling of Shreck. Solanki looked in fluent form, playing his trademark shots early in his innings. He passed 50 in 51 deliveries but was trapped LBW by Andre Adams two balls later for 52. Matt Pardoe (13*) and Moeen Ali (10*) saw the home side safely to the close of play with the score on 77-2. During the innings Darren Pattinson pulled up mid way through his second over and was unable to bowl for the rest of the day.
Close of play Day 1: Nottinghamshire 223. Worcestershire 77-2.
Heavy overnight rain and rain showers throughout the morning meant that no play was possible before lunch. After inspection by the umpires at 3pm play was abandoned for the day.
The third day of the Championship match at New Road against Nottinghamshire could be described as a day of two halves. In contrast to the second day the weather was set fair all day and play started promptly.
The morning session belonged to the home side as they increased their overnight score of 77 to 169 with the loss of only one wicket, that of Matt Pardoe caught at 3rd slip by Andre Adams for 39. By lunch Moeen Ali had passed his fifty and looked well set in partnership with Alexei Kervezee. Both Kervezee and Ali looked in good touch. By the time the pair had made 93 for the 4th wicket and matched Nottinghamshire's 1st innings score the match changed dramatically.
Firstly Kervezee and Ali were both dismissed within 3 balls of each other. Kervezee was the first to go edging a catch to Chris Read off the bowling of Paul Franks for 39. Three balls later Samit Patel had Ali caught at slip by Adam Voges for 84. This brought a new pair of batsman to the crease, with a new ball due in 2 overs. Through a combination of tight new ball bowling, unpredictable bounce from the pitch and the occasional suspect shot Worcestershire lost their next 5 wickets in just over 7 overs, adding just another 20 runs. Charlie Shreck bowling from the New Road end was particularly effective with the new ball taking 4 wickets in 2.4 overs for just 5 runs in his return spell with the new ball.
This gave the home side a 1st innings lead of just 20 runs which was disappointing after being only 3 wickets down when the scores were level.
However the Worcestershire bowlers found the pitch just as helpful with the new ball when they bowled and they made a significant dent in the Nottinghamshire 2nd innings before the close of play. The potent opening pair of Damien Wright and Alan Richardson had the visitors on 28-3 by the 10th over. It was a shame to see Wright pulling up mid-way through his 6th over with a suspected calf injury. It is unlikely he will bowl again this innings, which is his last match for the home side, everybody hopes they will see him make a return visit to New Road next season.
Alan Richardson took 3-15 in his first spell and with Gareth Andrew picking up a wicket the visitors were at 61-5 at one stage. Samit Patel (52*) and Chris Read (21*) staged a small recovery at the end of the day to help Nottinghamshire to 104-5 by the close of play, a lead of 84 runs.
If Worcestershire can claim these two wickets early and have a target of less than 150 to chase it could be an interesting final days play. Richardson needs just one more wicket to reach 400 First Class wickets.
Close of play day 3: Nottinghamshire (223 & 104-5) lead Worcestershire (243) by 84 runs with 5 second innings wickets remaining.
The morning session belonged to the visitors. Samit Patel was the only wicket to fall in the session, to a sharp catch at slip by Vikram Solanki off the bowling of Jack Shantry for 84. Nottinghamshire skipper Chris Read was in fine form as he looked to give his side a comfortable to lead to set Worcestershire a total to chase down. By lunch the visitors had reached 205-6, an overall lead of 185. Worcestershire missed the bowling of Damien Wright but it is hoped that is injury may not be as bad as first expected.
After lunch Jack Shantry made a break through in the very first over after the resumption, trapping Paul Franks LBW for 14. Shantry picked up a further wicket with the first over with the new ball, Andre Adams playing the ball onto his stumps for 15. The ever reliable Alan Richardson battled hard to pick up his 400 career wicket, but it was not to be. Nottinghamshire declared their innings closed on 273-8 with Read unbeaten on 120*. Jack Shantry finished with figures of 3-65 and Alan Richardson 3-81. This left Worcestershire a formidable target of 254 runs to win with a minimum of 48 overs left in the day.
The home side lost an early wicket, in the second over of the innings with James Cameron trapped LBW for 0. This brought Vikram Solanki to the crease who confidently hit the first ball he received through the covers for four. Solanki and his partner Matt Pardoe batted very well in partnership, taking no risks but taking advantage of any wide or short deliveries. The pair took the home side safely to the tea interval with the score on 50-1 and thoughts were turning towards the possibility of the home side batting out for the draw.
After the tea interval there was a noticeable rise in the run rate. Matt Pardoe in particular was playing a wide arrange of shots, showing his growing confidence this season. Both batsman kept pace with each rotating the strike well and both passed their half centuries within two overs of each other. The pair had put on 117 for the 2nd wicket before Pardoe was bowled by Andre Adams for 54, after an innings lasting 93 deliveries and containing 8 boundaries. As an indication of intent Gareth Andrew came in next in a pinch hitter role. This signalled a further acceleration in positive shots, especially taking advantage of the shorter boundary on the pavilion side. Nottinghamshire's fast over rate meant that two extra overs were bowled before last hour was called when the score was on 144-2, meaning that the home side still had to score 90 runs in the last 16 overs.
Gareth Andrew scored a quick fire 31 in just 26 balls before being stumped going down the track to Samit Patel. In the same over Solanki was adjudged LBW sweeping, for a superb 85 off 104 deliveries. Solanki was obviously disappointed to be given out but it was a class innings, containing eight boundaries that set up the platform for the younger players around him to play their shots as well.
Any thoughts of a collapse were soon extinguished by a powerful batting display by Alexei Kervezee and Moeen Ali. The pair made a mockery of the target and chased it down with over four overs to spare, scoring 69 runs in 7.5 overs. Moeen Ali launched the first ball he received into the crowd for six. In the next 47 balls of the partnership there were only 17 dot balls as both batsman cut loose, taking advantage of some poor Nottinghamshire fielding in the process. Kervezee hit 40* in just 25 deliveries and Moeen Ali 35*, also in 25 deliveries. Moeen had the pleasure of hitting the winning runs to give Worcestershire a well deserved 6 wicket win over the current County Champions.
Result: Worcestershire (243 & 255-4) beat Nottinghamshire (223 & 273-8 dec.) by 6 wickets.
Worcestershire 20 points. Nottinghamshire 4 points.