Joe Leach revealed the respect the players have for Worcestershire skipper Daryl Mitchell – and the pleasure they derived from his first major LV = County Championship score of the campaign against Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl.

Mitchell has had a testing start to the campaign after scoring 1,334 Championship runs last season and nearly 2,000 in all forms of cricket.

But there were signs of the 31-year-old recapturing his form as he top-scored with 58 not out in the NatWest T20 Blast win over Leicestershire Foxes on Friday.

And Mitchell followed that up with 80 not out against Hampshire as Worcestershire closed on 221-3 – just one adrift after bowling the home side out for 222.

Leach, who finished with another five wicket haul, said: "We have got a very high regard for Mitch.

"He is the lynchpin of our batting and has not got as many runs this season as he would have liked.

"You could see by the reception he got when he came off the field how delighted we were for him."

Leach has now taken 23 wickets in just seven Championship innings this season after returning 5-63 from 22 overs at the Ageas Bowl.

But all of the bowlers bowled with discipline and accuracy including debutant Ed Barnard who finished with 2-50 from 17 overs.

Leach said: "At this level, if you bowl out a side for 222 you have to be happy. It vindicated our decision to bowl first.

"It was a very disciplined performance by our bowling unit.

"We aimed to keep the run rate down and, while the first wicket was a long time coming on the first day, four fell quickly and we were able to maintain the momentum."

Hampshire coach Dale Benkenstein was disappointed with his side's performance.

He said: "Over the past year we have not played as poorly as this all round. Credit to Worcestershire, they have stuck to their game plan, particularly in the field.

"We have been really poor and I am not used to that. They did not give us any runs, which was completely the opposite to us."