There were several encouraging performances – including a half century for newcomer Jake Libby and a match-winning knock from Jack Haynes when Worcestershire CCC players took part in a three-day intra-squad match at Blackfinch New Road.
Two teams entitled ‘Team Richo’ and ‘Team Ali’ skippered by Joe Leach and Ed Barnard respectively were made up of senior and Academy players in a match which produced plenty of competitive cricket as part of the build-up to the new campaign.
It was an invaluable exercise in terms of bowlers getting overs into their legs and batsmen spending time at the crease.
Team Richo were put into bat and Daryl Mitchell top-scored with 90 out of a first innings total of 228-7 declared from 77 overs.
The long-serving opener struck 13 boundaries in his 198 ball knock before he nicked a delivery to keeper Alex Milton. He put on 77 for the sixth wicket with Club.
Captain Leach who made 36 off 42 deliveries until he was caught at mid off by Academy player Pete Clark. Ben Twohig (21) and Dillon Pennington (15 not out) also made useful runs.
Josh Tongue (2-54) and Charlie Morris (1-60) shared the new ball and it was encouraging to see Pat Brown (1-21) bowl 10 overs on his return to action after a back injury and a total of 20 in the game. Barnard was the most successful Team Ali bowler with 3-49 from 20 overs.
His team then totalled 185-7 declared off 59 overs in reply with Riki Wessels, batting at number four, contributing 64 off 86 balls with two sixes and eight fours before holing out to Leach at deep extra cover. Barnard chipped in with 33 not out at number seven while Haynes had earlier made 29.
Leach (1-39) and Dillon Pennington (1-21) were the new ball bowlers, Adam Finch claimed 3-48 from 15 overs and spinner Twohig dismissed (1-28) dismissed Wessels.
When Team Richo, with a lead of 43, batted for a second time Mitchell made 32 before retiring out with the total on 72. Libby, signed from Nottinghamshire on a three-year contract last winter, and Tom Fell then both hit half centuries during an unbroken partnership of 90.
The declaration came at 162-1 off 43 overs with Libby 59 not out (108 balls, six fours) and Fell unbeaten on 55 (91 balls, eight fours).
Team Ali achieved an eight wicket win as they reached 207-2 in 62 overs with Haynes unbeaten on 82 from 110 balls with 16 fours. Josh Dell (63) shared in stands of 53 with fellow opener Olly Westbury (24) and 99 for the second wicket with Haynes before falling at first slip.
Milton (27 not out) helped Haynes to complete victory for Team Ali in an unbroken stand of 55 while Twohig (2-56) picked up both wickets.