Worcestershire First Team Coach Alex Gidman paid tribute to Club Captain Joe Leach after he claimed the 300th first class wicket of his career against Gloucestershire at Cheltenham today.
Leach scored his maiden first class century on the same ground six years ago when he was primarily a batting all-rounder.
He reached the bowling milestone in his 84th first class match when Ethan Bamber (3) nicked a delivery and keeper Ben Cox produced a superb diving catch away to his right.
It is the combination that has produced so many of Leach’s scalps and fitting that yesterday Cox collected his 300th first class dismissal for Worcestershire.
Leach was congratulated by his team-mates and received warm applause from the large Festival crowd at the College Ground.
He picked all three wickets to fall this morning and ended with figures of 6-79 – just short of his personal best of 6-73 against Warwickshire at Edgbaston in 2015 – as Gloucestershire were bowled out for 354.
Gidman said: “Firstly as an opponent Joe was only really coming on the scene when I was around. He scored a lot of runs against us at Cheltenham one year, I remember that.
“His bowling has obviously evolved in the last few years in particular and he has been and continues to be a huge threat particularly with the new ball.
“Credit to him for working really hard, and particularly the bowling side of things, and turning himself into a good and extremely well respected bowler around the circuit.
“He has switched from a batting all-rounder to a bowling all-rounder? Yes he has. It’s very hard being a genuine all-rounder and generally you find over time that one discipline kind of develops more than the other one, not necessarily consciously, almost sub consciously.
“But he still works on his batting and I know he wants to still contribute as much as he can with the bat.”
*Read Bowling Coach Alan Richardson’s assessment of how Leach’s career has flourished and developed on the Worcestershire CCC website during the next few days.