Skipper Brett D’Oliveira and paceman Josh Tongue impressed with bat and ball respectively for Worcestershire on a fluctuating opening day of the Specsavers County Championship clash with Lancashire at Southport and Birkdale CC.
D’Oliveira switched from the opener’s role into the middle order and was the County’s top-scorer with 65 in a total of 222 all out after electing to bat.
Tom Fell, Joe Clarke and Ed Barnard also made useful contributions.
Then Tongue picked up two wickets in his first over, finished with three in total and brought about a run out.
Worcestershire’s catching was also of a high standard as Lancashire closed on 96-5.
Worcestershire opener Daryl Mitchell (9) survived one chance before he was caught behind by Dane Vilas off Toby Lester.
Fell looked in good nick and picked up a series of boundaries with some fine drives.
But after making 31 he was back in his crease when lbw to Tom Bailey.
It became 62-3 when Alex Milton (0) was run out.
Clarke turned Graham Onions on the on side and, after completing one run, Milton came out of his ground looking for a second.
But he was unable to get back in time and was beaten by Keshav Maharaj’s throw to Vilas.
Clarke reeled off some good strokes in making 36 but in the last over before lunch he drove at a delivery and nicked through to Vilas off the bowling of Jordan Clark.
Ben Cox (14) kept D’Oliveira company in a partnership of 41 but was then leg before to Onions.
D’Oliveira reached his half century off 95 balls out of 154-5.
He and Ed Barnard added 38 useful runs for the sixth wicket.
D’Oliveira eventually fell to Bailey after edging to first slip with his 120 ball knock containing nine boundaries.
Barnard showed plenty of determination but wickets fell steadily at the other end.
Wayne Parnell (4) was bowled by Bailey and the recalled Ben Twohig provided Vilas with another catch off Lester.
Tongue made a useful 17 before Vilas produced a fine low catch, this time off Bailey.
It was Vilas who had the last say as Dillon Pennington went for a pull against Onions and edged through to the keeper.
Barnard remained undefeated on 24 from 61 balls with one boundary.
When Lancashire launched their reply, Tongue made an immediate impact – and he was backed up by some superb catching.
Haseeb Hameed (0) fell victim to a superb low catch by Clarke at first slip and in the same over Rob Jones nicked Tongue – and Mitchell held onto a sharp chance at second slip.
Twohig got in on the act with a sharp catch in the gulley to dismiss Steven Croft (14) off Parnell at 27-3.
Alex Davies played a series of fine strokes and added 54 with Vilas before the return of Tongue brought another two wickets in one over.
The first dismissal saw Tongue deflect a drive from Davies onto the stumps at the non striker’s end with Vilas (18) out of his ground.
Then Davies (47) perished when he offered no stroke and was leg before.