It’s back to red ball cricket for a week, before the final group stages and quarter finals of the Blast kick off the month of July. These two sides are separated by just one point in the table and join Derbyshire and Durham in chasing down Nottinghamshire and Middlesex, who currently occupy the crucial top two spots. There is still plenty of cricket to be played as we enter the second half of the Championship season.
Worcestershire will be looking to forget their poor Blast campaign and start afresh. In their last Championship game they took part in a high scoring draw at Chester-le-Street, where only 17 wickets fell over the four days. They currently have one overseas red ball player, Pakistani batter Azhar Ali who, after a slow start to the season, has now hit form with 510 runs from his last five innings. Runs have not really been a problem for Worcestershire, with Jack Haynes, Brett D’Oliveira and Ed Barnard joining Ali in the top twenty Championship run scorers so far this season. The issue has been taking the twenty wickets needed for the win. Barnard, who is said to be attracting interest from neighbours Warwickshire, is their top wicket-taker with 16 at 45.87.
That compares with the Glamorgan opening pair of Michael Neser and Michael Hogan, who have taken 25 and 20 wickets respectively. Hogan has now recovered from the COVID infection that interrupted his participation in the last Championship game. These two are the dominant force in the Glamorgan bowling attack, the change bowlers have been less successful, with James Harris the best with just seven wickets. Off-spinner, Andrew Salter was effective in the last match, taking 6/142. This helped Glamorgan complete a five wicket win against Sussex, chasing down a target of 141 in the last session.
The Glamorgan batting looks a little more fragile than that of Worcestershire, although it has been strengthened by the return of Eddie Byrom to one of the opening slots. He celebrated his return to fitness with 176 in his first Championship innings of the season. Colin Ingram also seems to have settled back into red ball cricket with a big century in the last game.
A draw looks the most likely outcome, with the batting line ups seeming to be a little stronger than the bowling they will be up against.
Brett D’Oliveira has settled in well to his role as club captain, a position that neither his father or grandfather occupied. He has scored 545 runs in the Championship at and average of 90.8, although his bowling has taken a back seat with just three wickets.
Glamorgan have badly missed Eddie Byrom at the top of the batting order, having been out following surgery. He will be keen to make up for lost time and started with a big century in his first Championship outing.
Joe Leach has been back playing second team cricket but it is not clear if he is fit enough to take part in this game.
Worcestershire squad (from): Brett D’Oliveira (c),Azhar Ali, Kashif Ali, Ben Cox (wk), Josh Baker, Ed Barnard, Taylor Cornwall, Ben Gibbon, Adam Finch, Ben Gibbon, Jack Haynes, Jake Libby, Charlie Morris, Dillon Pennington
First choice wicket keeper Chris Cooke succumbed to a calf injury while fielding in the first innings of the last Championship game. He was replaced by Tom Cullen, but since then 18-year-old Alex Horton has worn the gloves in the T20 side. It will be interesting to see which of the two gets the call in this game. Timm van der Gugten remains sidelined with a hamstring injury, but it may be that James Harris comes back into the side following a seven wicket haul in the last second eleven game.
Glamorgan squad (from): David Lloyd (c), Eddie Byrom, Kiran Carlson, Andrew Gorvin, James Harris, Michael Hogan, Alex Horton (wk), Colin Ingram, Jamie McIlroy, Michael Neser, Sam Northeast, Billy Root, Andrew Salter, James Weighell
Weather and Conditions
The forecast is for temperatures in the high teens, light cloud and a chance of a few showers..
Pitches at New Road this year have generally played well, favouring the batters.
Date: 27th – 30th June 2022
Ground: New Road