Super Worcestershire stormed to an innings and 42 runs win over Derbyshire at the 3aaa County Ground today after another magnificent contribution with the ball from skipper Joe Leach.
Leach completed his third five wicket haul in the last four Championship innings after Ed Barnard made the initial double breakthrough as Derbyshire were dismissed for 98 in just 29.4 overs.
It is the first time since 1988 that Worcestershire have won their opening three Championship games – the year they won their fourth title.
They made up with a vengeance for the lost of 129 overs during the opening two days and secured a maximum 24 point haul to maintain their promotion challenge.
With the County also through to a home semi-final in the Royal London One-Day Cup, it has been a superb start to the 2017 campaign.
Leach finished with 5-32 from 13 overs, Barnard 2-34, Nathan Lyon 1-27 and Josh Tongue 1-3.
Worcestershire added 92 runs for the loss of six wickets this morning before declaring on 415-9 after stretching their first innings advantage to 140 – a total built around openers Daryl Mitchell and Brett D'Oliveira's stand of 243 yesterday.
Then their seam bowlers got to work to wreck the Derbyshire second innings.
Barnard made the first breakthrough in the fourth over as Ben Slater (7) turned a delivery straight to Tom Fell at square leg.
The former England Under-19 all-rounder struck again in his next over as Shiv Thakor was leg before to a delivery which skidded on without troubling the scorers.
Barnard then showed his prowess as a fielder after Wayne Madsen called Tom Taylor – acting as a runner for the injured Luis Reece – for a quick single off Leach.
Taylor failed to beat Barnard's direct hit and Reece had to depart for eight.
In the same over Leach accounted for Billy Godleman who was lbw for nought as Derbyshire reached 33-4 off 10 overs by lunch.
Worcestershire continued to turn the screw and the first ball after the interval saw Wayne Madsen (12) edge Leach through to Ben Cox.
Then later in the same over Leach won another lbw shout against Alex Hughes (6) who was only half forward.
Jeevan Mendis went on the attack but after making a quickfire 16 he gloved Leach through to Cox at 58-7.
Leach completed his five wicket haul as Daryn Smith went lbw for nine at 59-8.
He finally took himself out of the attack but replacement Tongue instantly had Tom Taylor (9) caught behind in his final over.
Tony Palladino provided some late hitting with three sixes in his 28 but Lyon had the final say on his Championship debut.
Palladono holed out in the deep to Barnard off the Australian spinner and victory was completed just before 3pm.
Worcestershire had resumed on 323-3 and the bulk of their runs today were scored by Tom Kohler-Cadmore.
He made 42 off 47 balls with two sixes and one four and on his dismissal, bowled by Thakor, Leach immediately declared.
Cox also made a breezy 27 off 25 balls and in the process completed 3,000 first class runs in his career.