Day 2

MASON PRAISES BOWLERS DETERMINATION TO FILL RICHARDSON GAP AFTER WASH-OUT

Matt Mason has praised the determination of the Worcestershire bowlers to fill the gap left by Alan Richardson after the county suffered more weather frustration against Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl.

Persistent rain meant play was called off on the second day of the LV County Championship clash shortly before 4pm with Hampshire still on their overnight 37-3 after being put into bat yesterday by county skipper Daryl Mitchell.

But in that short spell of play bowling coach Mason had seen the new ball attack of Chris Russell and Charlie Morris continue the form shown in pre-season as they look to fill the shoes left by Richardson who has become Warwickshire’s bowling coach.

Mason said: "It is funny how the news of Alan's retirement was received by the lads. We were concerned it would be a big shock to the lads.

"But you could almost see their eyes light up and they were thinking 'here is an opportunity for us'

"They have worked so hard this winter and at the moment I am really, really pleased with where all the bowlers are at.

"I think they've all pushed themselves really hard and there is motivation there definitely.

"When you see an opportunity created by Alan leaving, it has driven everyone to work the hardest they have done for some time in my opinion.”

Mason added: "The way Chris Russell looked in the last two weeks before the season was the best I've seen him look in the last couple of years.

"If he can maintain the form he has shown, swinging the ball at a lively pace, then I think he will do really well for us.

"Charlie Morris has been a revelation to us all, a fantastic lad, works harder than anyone I've ever met, is so determined to succeed and he can bowl as well.

"I'm really hoping he grabs this opportunity and the two of them did well in the short period against Hampshire."

Umpires David Millns and Alex Wharf had little choice but to abandon play for the day after the rain returned following a slight improvement in the elements.

The covers were partially removed after an early lunch was taken at 12.30 and the umpires were able to make a 2.30 inspection.

But the rain returned soon afterwards to end hopes of any action.

Mason said: "Daryl had no hesitation in bowling first and it proved to be the right decision. Hopefully the conditions will still be favourable for bowling tomorrow and we can make early inroads."