Worcestershire 493 (De Oliveira 138, Cox 77, Mitchell 58, Parkinson 8-148) and 132 4 beats Leicestershire 404 (Dexter 114, Cosgrove 74) and 220 (Chappell 66, Hill 60) by Six wickets
Worcestershire gave itself a good chance to advance after winning its third straight county title.
They may take longer than expected – free access to the new road on Friday, possibly at Issues were resolved within an hour, but the game eventually extended to around 3.20pm – but the result put Worcestershire at the top with just a few weeks left of the season.
Cardiff’s result means no progress is assured as Northants have a game in hand. But the worst-case scenario means Worcestershire need a maximum of 11 points in their final game against Durham. As their captain Joe Leach said: “It’s in our own hands.”
With Northants needing to beat Nottinghamshire next week to maintain their promotion hopes, it is entirely possible that Worcestershire’s promotion is guaranteed before the next game. If so, it will be their fifth promotion in 11 years under director of cricket Steve Rhodes and for the first time in the history of both divisions they will find themselves Departments above Warwickshire.
This was an unlikely scenario a few weeks ago. After the Tom Kohler-Cadmore debacle and a horrific T20 campaign – no team has won less or lost more – it seems their championship form is on the decline. They won just one (and lost three) of their six midseason title games.
But a short break and the acquisition of Ravi Ashwin gave them new life. While Ashwin’s numbers have been relatively modest – he’s averaged 13 wickets in three games of 33.46 so far – his presence has boosted the squad. He’s clearly relaxed in the environment – he’s enjoying walking around the city without being recognized – and has inspired some of his young teammates for this revival. Ashwin is the only person on this side who did not graduate through the Worcestershire system.
They are some of the great young players in this Worcestershire team. In 19-year-old Josh Tongue (with 45 first-class wickets this season), they have one of the country’s outstanding fast bowling prospects – it’s been a long time since such a bowler has been in the system here – and in They have an outstanding young hitter in 21-year-old Joe Clark (850 first-class runs this summer). Both will be included in this winter’s lineup.
It’s mostly homegrown talent, and we’re very proud of the fact that,” Rhodes said later. ” Getting the highest score with 10 academy players makes you very proud.
” NEW – Leicester made 10 of 4 shots in Thursday’s game, which It’s a key moment in the game.”
They didn’t quite live their lives on the last day. Leicestershire’s eighth wicket pair, with just 22 leads, hit 103 in 23 overs as Worcestershire tested their strategy with a short ball that backfired. Zach, especially Chappell, produced some decent pulls as he recorded the second half of his career — first inning, 96, in his first-class debut — Lewis Hill Added targeted support.
They also played Ashwin well. Chappell shot 50 on 63 balls, 6-ball over the spinner head, and Worcestershire’s nerves started to grow when the lead was over 100 and the rain required a few brief breaks.
In the end, the short ball worked. Chappell and Doeter Klein made long jumps to midwicket ahead of Lewis, leaving only No. 11, sweeping hard to the square-leg boundary of Brett D’Oliveira’s well-judged catch. Leicester County lost their last three wickets after adding just six points, while Worcestershire needed just 132 to win.
The chase wasn’t all smooth sailing – D’Oliveira misses scoop on a try, Daryl Mitchell on, Tom Fell With a top score of 39 in all form this season, it looks like he needs a holiday – but the pitch is still real and Leicester, without a win this season, lacks the conviction to turn things around like some quarters.
However, the day also offered some encouragement for Leicestershire. At the 21-year-old Chappell, they have one of the brightest prospects in the county game: an all-rounder who can bowl fast. Sure, he’s raw — he’s prone to falling down on pitches, and he doesn’t seem to gain much lateral movement — but he has the potential to be a good player.
And Callum Parkinson, who followed his eight wickets in the first inning – Best result for a Leicestershire bowler since Devon Malcolm smashed 8 in 63 against Surrey in 2001 – With two more top 10s in second, they have the most One of the good young left arm spinners. Leicestershire captain Mark Cosgrove even described him as “the best spinner in the game”. While it may be wishful thinking, he is one of the players who has given long-suffering Leicestershire supporters hope for a better future.
“Everyone’s attention was on Ashwin, but Paki easily outpaced him,” Cosgrove said. “He has a huge future ahead of him and hopefully we can get the pitch to turn at Grace Road.”
They are probably worse than learning from Worcestershire. While some clubs look to their chequebooks when they need players, Worcestershire look to their youth teams. England management and selection staff called Rhodes the most helpful and loyal of all county coaches, and he was one of the few who never questioned why a player might be called up to the Lions or rested in a key game one. He and the likes of academy coach Elliott Wilson are developing players who can serve club and country. For that, the entire English game should be grateful. A promotion seems like a fair reward.
George Dobell is a senior reporter for ESPNcricinfo