Worcestershire made one change to the team for the LV= County Championship match against Sussex at Horsham with the inclusion of Aneesh Kapil, making his First Class debut, in the place of Jack Manuel. Michael Yardy won the toss for Sussex who elected to field first on a glorious sunny day at Horsham.
James Anyon struck early for the home side dismissing both Matt Pardoe and Vikram Solanki for ducks by the 4th over. Skipper Daryl Mitchell helped Worcestershire to recover with a solid 3rd wicket partnership with Moeen Ali that took the visitors to lunch with the score on 79-2.
The partnership continued after lunch with both batsmen passing 50. The stand had lasted for just over 46 overs and was worth 139 before Monty Panesar trapped Mitchell LBW with a ball that kept a bit low for 66, after an innings that lasted 160 deliveries and contained 12 boundaries. Panesar then took a second wicket in his next over when Moeen Ali edged a catch to keeper Ben Brown for 71 after an innings lasting 136 deliveries. These two wickets proved to be the only two of the session with Alexei Kervezee and Aneesh Kapil taking the visitors to tea with the score on 203-4.
The 5th wicket stand was eventually worth 88 runs before Kervezee was run out trying to complete a third run by a long throw from the deep by Joe Gatting. Kervezee had made 49 in 86 deliveries and was looking to build on the good start he had made with Kapil. The run out prompted a flurry of wickets in the final session with Worcestershire going from 241-4 at one stage to being dismissed for 290.
Kapil scored a fine 54 from 68 deliveries including 8 boundaries in his maiden First Class innings before being caught at 2nd slip by William Adkin off the bowling of Kirk Wernars. It was a stylish innings, showing a lot of confidence for an 18 year old who has recently been with the England U19 team.
Anyon was the pick of the bowlers with 4-71 in 17.3 overs with Panesar picking up 3-75 in 21 overs. In the six overs that remained in the day Sussex reached 16-0 by close of play.
Close of Play Day 1. Worcestershire 290. Sussex 16-0.
Worcestershire fought back well on the 2nd day to leave themselves in a good position going into the 3rd day. With Sussex on 16-0 at the start of the day's play Worcestershire dismissed the home side for 265 and reached 16-0 themselves by the close of play, an overall lead of 41 runs.
The start of the morning session was delayed by rain which meant the loss of 4 overs from the day's allocation. When play commenced the home side increased their overnight opening partnership to 57 before Gareth Andrew picked up the wicket of Ed Joyce, caught down the leg side to a diving catch by keeper Ben Scott for 27. Seven balls later Alan Richardson picked up the second wicket clean bowling Luke Wells playing a defensive shot for 0.
Bad light and light rain caused a further interruption just before lunch with the score on 66-2. Two further overs were lost from the day's play but the afternoon session started on time and Joe Gatting looked to carry on where he left off in the morning session. He passed his half century shortly after the resumption and was looking well set for a big score. Richardson picked up the key wicket finding the edge of Gatting's bat giving another catch to Scott. Gatting made 61 from 77 deliveries including 11 boundaries, which was to prove the top score in the home side's innings.
By tea the home side had reached 210-5, which was a bit of recovery by Sussex who had been 152-5 at one stage, due to a 5th wicket stand between Murray Goodwin and Kirk Wernars. The partnership was worth 61 before Goodwin was dismissed for 48 shortly after the resumption after the tea interval. It was a fighting innings by Goodwin lasting for 112 deliveries who might have been struggling with a hand injury picked up in an previous match. Saeed Ajmal picked up the wicket, caught at slip by Daryl Mitchell.
It proved to be the start of a excellent spell of spin bowling with Ajmal working well in combination with Moeen Ali who did a good job of restricting the flow of runs and taking wickets at regular intervals. Wernars made a useful 53 before being run out on a sharp single by an accurate throw by Alexei Kervezee.
Both spinners were economical, especially Ajmal who went for less than 1.7 runs per over finishing with figures of 2-44 from 26 overs. Moeen also went for less than 3 runs per over taking 3-43 in 17 overs. Sussex were eventually dismissed for 265 in exactly 90 overs giving the visitors a slender 1st innings lead of 25 runs.
By the close of play Worcestershire had reached 16-0 in 6 overs, which was exactly the same position Sussex were in at the start of the day's play.
Close of Play Day 2: Worcestershire 290 & 16-0 lead Sussex (265) by 41 runs with 10 second innings wickets remaining.
Worcestershire had a good day with the bat to set Sussex a challenging total to chase on the final day of the LV= County Championship match at Horsham. Starting the day on 16-0 Worcestershire made 311 in their 2nd innings leaving Sussex a target of 337 runs to win.
Sussex made a good start to the day's play picking the wicket of Daryl Mitchell in the very first over when he played a delivery from James Anyon onto his stumps for 12. Vikram Solanki and Matt Pardoe completed a very patient 2nd wicket stand which was worth 58 runs before Monty Panesar trapped Solanki LBW for 31. Worcestershire reached the lunch interval on 93-2.
Matt Pardoe looked composed batting the entire morning session with little apparent difficulty but fell just after lunch to a simple catch at mid on by William Adkin off the bowling of Panesar for 42 after a patient innings lasting 128 balls. Panesar was particularly dangerous on a drying pitch and bowled 35 consecutive overs from the Church end of the ground, with only the lunch & tea intervals as breaks. Moeen Ali produced a very patient, careful innings and played Panesar well, reaching his half century just before the tea interval by which time Worcestershire had reached 188-6.
After the tea interval Worcestershire looked to up the run rate. Moeen Ali had already hit two huge sixes after the return after tea but top edged a Luke Wells delivery to Michael Yardy for 68. It was an excellent innings by Moeen who helped Worcestershire set a good target for Sussex to chase.
The Worcestershire tail produced some entertainment at the end, and frustration for the Sussex bowlers. Alan Richardson, batting at number 11 scored a quick fire 41 off just 32 balls, including 8 boundaries as the visitors put on 56 for the last wicket, helped by an unbeaten 36* by Ben Scott. Worcestershire were dismissed for 311 setting Sussex 337 to win with one day and 7 overs left to be bowled. Spin accounted for six wickets with Panesar taking 4-101 and Wells 2-28.
In the seven overs that remained in the day Saeed Ajmal took a wicket in his only over, bowling Joe Gatting for 6 with a ball that appeared to turn sharply. A interesting final day's play is in prospect with Sussex needing a further 320 runs to win or Worcestershire requiring another nine wickets which would give them the win that would move them out of the relegation places.
Close of Play Day 3: Worcestershire (290 & 311) Sussex (265 & 17-1). Sussex require a further 320 runs to win with 9 wickets remaining.
Worcestershire secured their third LV= County Championship win of the season on the final day of the match against Sussex at Horsham but were made to fight hard for the result with a close finish in the last hour of the match.
Overnight rain and an overcast start to the day threatened to delay the start of play but the sun came out and play resumed on time. Worcestershire made a good start to the day picking up three wickets in the first part of the morning session to leave the home side on 52-4. Saeed Ajmal picked up the first wicket when Ed Joyce top edged a catch to Vikram Solanki at slip for 14. After a brief third wicket partnership two more wickets fell quickly in succession. Luke Wells edged a catch to Daryl Mitchell at 2nd slip off Alan Richardson for 9. Two overs later Ajmal picked up his 3rd wicket trapping night watchman William Adkin LBW for 17.
Murray Goodwin and Michael Yardy then steadied the innings and guided Sussex to lunch with the score on 125-4. With a required run rate of around three runs per over Sussex knew they would be in with a chance of winning if they could keep wickets in hand. Goodwin produced a superb innings, showing all his class and experience in a fighting partnership with Yardy that threatened to give the advantage back to the home side. The 5th wicket stand was worth 151 runs before Ajmal made the breakthrough in his return spell shortly before the tea interval. Yardy was the man to go with a bat / pad catch to short leg by Alexei Kervezee for 63. Ajmal then picked up a further wicket just before the tea interval trapping Ben Brown LBW for 10 leaving Sussex on 235-6 by the tea interval.
Goodwin passed his century, his 66th of his career, just before the interval, and passed 1,000 Championship runs for the season in doing so. With Goodwin still at the crease a Sussex win was always still possible. As with so often this season it was Richardson who made the breakthrough with his second delivery with the new ball trapping Goodwin LBW for 122 after an innings lasting 193 deliveries and containing 14 boundaries.
Richardson's final spell went for for 3-16 as he cleaned up the tail, taking taking the last wicket to fall as James Anyon edged to Solanki at 1st slip for 2 to dismiss Sussex for 302. The last wicket stand between Richardson and Ben Scott of 56 proved to be crucial with Sussex falling just 34 runs short of the victory target.
Result: Worcestershire (290 & 311) beat Sussex (265 & 302) by 34 runs.
Worcestershire 21 points. Sussex 5 points.