Skipper Joe Leach has paid tribute to the “phenomenal” work of Ben Davies and Ross Dewar in ensuring himself and the other Worcestershire players remained fit enough to be able to continue playing throughout the season.

Leach was suffering with an ankle problem – which required a cortisone injection – and then a side strain suffered in the crunch clash with Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.

But thanks to the efforts of Head Of Sports Science and Medicine Davies (pictured here) and Strength and Conditioning Coach Dewar, the 26-year-old was able to play all 14 County Championship matches and finished as leading wicket-taker in Division Two with 69 victims.

Six other players – Daryl Mitchell, Joe Clarke, Josh Tongue, Ben Cox, Brett D’Oliveira and Ed Barnard – also had a 100 per cent appearance record in the four-day competition in 2017.

Leach said: “The side strain in particular really hurt and the ankle hampered me a bit during that middle phase of the season with the T20 and the four-day games in that period.

“The side strain, in Nottinghamshire’s second innings at Trent Bridge, I didn’t think I’d be able to bowl. I was struggling.

“But ultimately. You just get through it. It’s only pain. I was having treatment every day and tribute to Ben and Ross.

“They are phenomenal, they put in a lot of work and to have a small squad like we have….Ben told me a stat where we had only 1.1 players unavailable on any given day.

“That is an unbelievable effort from those guys.”

But backing up the skill and work of Davies and Dewar is a high level of commitment and work ethic from the players.

Leach: “It also speaks for the professionalism of the group and how much they want to play as well.

“Sometimes you don’t see all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes.

“All the guys are already back working hard in the gym just two weeks after winning the league.

“You don’t see all that hard work but it is worth it for days like we had two weeks ago when we lifted the Division Two title.

“All credit to Ross, to Ben, and the lads for the way they approach things.”