Legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi once said, “Winning is a habit. Unfortunately so is losing.” If Worcestershire or Somerset is seeking inspiration they only need to hover through that quote. Advancing to this match, Somerset haven’t won a Championship game in six attempts while Worcestershire are winless in five matches.
The positive for them is that they aren’t away from the leading pack in Division One like the points table suggest. Both are dead-locked at 13 points having suffered consecutive defeats but they already know the areas that need to improve upon. For Pears, they must call it quits to their session of doom which has happened against Yorkshire during the third day and final day morning session against Sussex. Those dramatic collapses threw away winning positions and had they been more careful they could already have had the first victory of the season.
Somerset’s worriment is more profound and that’s their inability to take wickets. When they set Middlesex a target of 402, they would have definitely expected to win. Maybe Alfonso Thomas and George Dockrell is just what they need to harmonize with a batting line-up that is sparkling at the moment. Captain Marcus Trescothick, James Hildreth and Johann Myburgh already have centuries to their name.
They would like Abdur Rehman to come to the party as well who ironically sent Worcestershire back to Division Two in 2012 snapping 14 wickets in the process at Taunton. Daryl Mitchell wouldn’t miss the trick of reminding his younger colleagues of that forgettable day.
Somerset’s struggles with the ball haven’t been accentuated as it should because of one man. Take out Lewis Gregory’s lone acts and it would turn drastic. Gregory has 13 championship wickets in two games and it includes two five-wicket hauls.
With Jamie Overton injured, it puts even more strain on the young right-seamer to maintain his purple patch. The return of Alfonso Thomas could provide some stability and in turn more wicket taking opportunities for Gregory.
With Mitchell and Alex Gidman still to find their touch, the onus again falls on Tom Fell to channel his guts and build the innings. Although he aborted his form against Sussex, he was still able to apply himself. One of the more technically gifted players, he has the temperament to graft an innings and that is what Pears need to arrest these one session demolitions that has been haunting them so far.
If his century against Yorkshire is anything to go by, Fell is the man for the long haul.
Worcestershire has suffered a major blow during the build-up as their key all-rounder Gareth Andrew is out of this match due to a recurrence of the back problem which has hindered his progress in the past.
Joe Leach, who enjoyed a fine season last year, is poised to make his Division One debut. Also recalled is Ross Whiteley who comes in the place of out of form Tom Kohler-Cadmore who has been asked to work his way back by scoring runs with the seconds.
England Under-19 all-rounder Ed Barnard retains his place in the squad and although he would most likely not play, Rhodes believes he’s an ideal member to have as an emergency in case someone picks up an injury. Barnard has shown good form leading up to the season.
Worcestershire Squad: Daryl Mitchell (captain), Ed Barnard, Ben Cox (wicketkeeper), Tom Fell, Alex Gidman, Alexei Kervezee, Joe Leach, Charlie Morris, Richard Oliver, Sachithra Senanayake, Jack Shantry, Ross Whiteley
Alfonso Thomas is back to full fitness and he will replace injured Jamie Overton in the squad. Johann Myburgh after missing the last game is back in place of Tom Abell, who had a sub-par game as opener against Middlesex. Irish left arm spinner George Dockrell is in the squad for the first time this season and that means Tim Groenewald gets a rest.
Also coming back is all rounder Craig Overton, ending his wait to return due to an ankle injury.
Somerset Squad: Marcus Trescothick (captain), Jim Allenby, Alex Barrow (wicketkeeper), Tom Cooper, George Dockrell, Lewis Gregory, James Hildreth, Johann Myburgh, Craig Overton, Abdur Rehman, Alfonso Thomas, Peter Trego
Weather and Conditions
Unfortunately, rain is expected for most parts of the match. Mostly it will be isolated showers with Tuesday, the more promising day of the lot with dry conditions. Sunday morning is expected to be damp but it’s supposed to clear up because of the sunshine in the latter parts of the day. Monday and Wednesday could see heavy and blustery showers.
New Road pitch didn’t offer much to the bowlers apart from the first day’s morning play during the match between Yorkshire and Worcestershire. However, with conditions expected to be damp for the most part, it could mean that there could be some swing available for the bowlers.
Date: 3rd – 6th May 2015
Ground: New Road
Umpires: Russell Evans & Michael Gough
Odds: Worcestershire 29/20, Somerset 4/7