Skipper Joe Leach and Josh Tongue picked up three wickets apiece as Kent were dismissed for 260 on day one of the Specsavers County Championship promotion clash at New Road. Leach lifted his season’s tally to 36 and the fiery Tongue also impressed as the County responded in fine style after their Royal London One-Day Cup semi-final setback against Surrey. With John Hastings, Ed Barnard and Moeen Ali also chipping in, the visitors were dismissed in 73.1 overs after electing to bat.
Leach bowled an inspired opening spell. He sent back openers Daniel Bell-Drummond and Sean Dickson during an initial burst of 7-3-7-2 from the New Road end. Bell-Drummond (1) had been rapped on the hand by a Leach delivery before nicking through to Daryl Mitchell at first slip.
Then Dickson (7) tried to work the ball on the leg side and the ball struck his pads and bounced onto the stumps.
Kent skipper Sam Northeast was fortunate on 22 to edge Ed Barnard just short of Ross Whiteley at first slip. But the former England Under-19 player did breakthrough when Joe Denly (12) drove straight to Brett D’Oliveira at point.
Northeast was unbeaten on 39 and Joe Weatherley seven at lunch when Kent were 73-3 off 30 overs.
The wickets continued to tumble after the interval and Northeast (42) was undone by a ball from Tongue which leapt up and Mitchell accepted the chance at second slip.
It became 88-5 in the next over as Joe Weatherley (11) hit out a widish Leach delivery and nicked through to keeper Ben Cox.
Tongue worked up a good degree of pace and Will Gidman (12) could only fend a ball through to Cox who completed the catch. Darren Stevens played aggressively for his 39 but then flat batted Hastings to the safe hands of Barnard at deep extra cover.
Kent were then 139-7 but Matt Coles and Adam Rouse counter-attacked and brought up their 50 partnership in eight overs.
It needed Tongue to return and break the stand as Rouse (34) provided Mitchell with his third catch of the innings.
By tea Kent had reached 230-8 from 64 overs with Coles unbeaten on 47. But Coles lasted only three balls after the interval before he was trapped lbw by Moeen on the back foot.
Hastings polished off the innings as Yasir Shah (17) holed out to Leach at mid on.
Leach finished with 3-42, Tongue 3-56, Hastings 2-44, Barnard 1-52 and Moeen 1-48.
When Worcestershire batted, Brett D’Oliveira (0) was caught at second slip off Stevens.
Moeen adopted an ultra aggressive approach and there were nine fours in his 37 off 16 balls before he pulled Coles into the hands of deep mid wicket.
It became 48-3 when Mitchell was pouched at third slip off Coles but Joe Clarke looked in good form and was well supported by George Rhodes in his first appearance of the season.
Worcestershire batsman Joe Clarke scored a superb first century of the season on the second day of the Specsavers County Championship clash with promotion rivals Kent at New Road.
The 21-year-old, who scored five Championship hundreds last summer, went to three figures with a boundary off Kent paceman Mitchell Claydon.
It came off 140 balls out of 220-5 and contained 17 fours.
Clarke had been on 34 not out overnight and again looked in impressive form with a straight drive for four off Matt Coles taking him to his half century.
The Academy product was given excellent support by George Rhodes in a fourth wicket stand of 131 in 33 overs.
Rhodes began the day with positive intent, cutting and cover driving Coles for four in the first over of the day.
The pair were relatively untroubled until Coles broke the stand as Rhodes, having made 45 off 109 balls with six fours, edged to Will Gidman at second slip.
Ben Cox joined Clarke and the pair saw Worcestershire through to lunch at 202 with Clarke unbeaten on 91.
Clarke gave a fist pump and saluted his team-mates on the boundary after bringing up his century shortly after the resumption.
Shah was posing a threat from the Diglis End and he struck twice with Cox (19) and Ross Whiteley (0) both lbw either side of Clarke going to his hundred.
But skipper Joe Leach came in full of attacking intent and four boundaries in an over from Gidman steered Worcestershire into a first innings lead.
The 26-year-old then collected three boundaries in quick succession off Claydon.
Worcestershire were set a 399 victory target after Joe Denly scored a career best 227 for Kent on day three of the Specsavers County Championship clash at New Road.
Joe Leach’s early two wicket burst and one for John Hastings reduced Kent to 205-6 – a lead of just 129.
But Denly and Adam Rouse added 149 in 39 overs – a Kent seventh wicket record in matches against Worcestershire.
They were eventually bowled out for 474 with Leach returning 4-79 to give him seven wickets in the game.
Then Worcestershire openers Daryl Mitchell and Brett D’Oliveira safely negotiated five overs in reaching 16-0.
Denly’s score was also the highest by a Kent batsman versus Worcestershire, beating Leslie Ames’ 201 not out at Gillingham in 1937 and 201 at New Road two years later.
Kent resumed on 120-3 – a lead of 44 – and Leach made a breakthrough in his second over of the morning.
Joe Weatherley had not added to his overnight 24 when he nicked the Worcestershire skipper through to Daryl Mitchell at second slip.
Joe Denly resumed on 67 and continued to impress although he had a let off on 81 when he edged Leach for four.
Leach struck again when Darren Stevens (19) offered no shot and was lbw with Kent then 169-5.
Hastings replaced Leach after an excellent morning spell of 7-2-21-2 and also caused problems.
Will Gidman was fortunate with a ball from the Australian which popped up on him and flew down to third man for four.
Denly went to his century with a six over long on off Moeen Ali from 145 balls with two sixes and 13 fours.
Hastings was rewarded for a good spell when Gidman went for a drive and was caught by Ross Whiteley at first slip.
Kent were 221-6 at lunch and Denly and Rouse dominated the afternoon proceedings via a century stand in 28 overs.
Denley reached 150 with a back foot push for two off Brett D’Oliveira.
The partnership exceeded the previous best for the Kent seventh wicket against Worcestershire of 110 by James Tredwell and Niall O’Brien at New Road in 2004.
The stand was finally broken to the last ball before tea with Rouse, whose 68 off 122 balls contained nine fours, caught by Whiteley at short leg off Moeen Ali.
Matt Coles hit a quickfire 39 before he top-edged a catch to keeper Ben Cox off Moeen.
Then Moeen pulled off a superb catch at deep backward square after Yasir Shah (27) had connected with a Hastings delivery.
The innings was wrapped up when Denly finally perished on 227 as he lofted Leach to Ed Barnard at long off. In all he batted for 468 minutes, faced 320 balls and struck 24 fours and five sixes.
Daryl Mitchell and Joe Clarke powered Worcestershire to the victory that lifts them into the Specsavers County Championship Division Two promotion places as they overcame Kent by four wickets at New Road.
Mitchell scored his fourth century in the last five Championship matches as Worcestershire galloped to their 399 target and achieved the third highest most successful chase in their history.
The former captain is enjoying a purple patch as he followed his 120 against Derbyshire, 161 versus Northamptonshire and 121 off the Sussex attack with another superb contribution.
Mitchell employed the cut shot to deadly effect and was seldom troubled in helping Worcestershire to chalk up their fifth win in seven Championship games this season.
He was given excellent support by Moeen Ali and then Clarke who in this game has recaptured his form with a vengeance in scoring two centuries in a Championship match for the first time in his blossoming career.
It was just the tonic the home side needed after two successive Campionship defeats and a Royal London One-Day Cup semi-final setback.
The game was another excellent advert for Championship cricket and see-sawed both ways before Mitchell and Co tipped the balance in Worcestershire’s favour.
It was Yasir Shah who finally sent Mitchell on his way for 142 from 243 balls with 20 boundaries after a stand of 175 in 38.2 overs with Clarke.
He departed to a standing ovation all around New Road after another invaluable knock and then Clarke ensured victory with an unbeaten 110.
Worcestershire resumed on 16-0 and openers Brett D’Oliveira and Mitchell extended their partnership to 52 before the former on 27 was bowled by a fine delivery from Darren Stevens which nipped back.
The occasional ball misbehaved off a length from the Diglish End but Mitchell and Moeen Ali were able to score freely during a stand of 112 in 22 overs.
An under-hit pull had led to Moeen’s downfall in the first innings but he profited from the stroke in reaching his half century off 47 balls.
The pair looked so much in control that it was a surprise when Moeen (63) aimed to work Shah on the leg side and was lbw to the last ball before lunch.
Clarke then joined forces with Mitchell and maintained the required tempo throughout the afternoon session.
The England Lions player had gone into this game without a Championship half century to his name this season but all his rich promise and potential returned with a vengeance.
After Mitchell’s departure, there was a slight concern for the home side as Shah struck twice more in dismissing George Rhodes (2) and Ben Cox (2).
But Clarke kept his nerve, passing three figures off 115 balls with 14 fours and a six, and some typical aggressive shots from Ross Whiteley (29) almost sealed the win before he became Shah’s fifth victim.
It was left to Ed Barnard to drive Shah for four and make the winning hit but Clarke deservedly took the plaudits as he left the pitch.
- 19 Jun 2017
- New Road, Worcester
- Start time:
- Richard Illingworth / Nitin Menon
- Kent won the toss and elected to bat.
- 260 All Out (73.1 overs)
- 336 All Out (85.4 overs)
- 474 All Out (116.4 overs)
- 401 / 6 (81.5 overs)
- Daryl Mitchell
- Brett D'Oliveira
- Moeen Ali
- Joe Clarke
- George Rhodes
- Ben Cox
- Ross Whiteley
- Ed Barnard
- Joe Leach
- John Hastings
- Josh Tongue
- Daniel Bell-Drummond
- Sean Dickson
- Joe Denly
- Sam Northeast
- Joe Weatherley
- Darren Stevens
- William Gidman
- Adam Rouse
- Matt Coles
- Yasir Shah
- Mitchell Claydon