Brief scores: Worcestershire 390 (Roderick 102, D’Oliveira 85, Ball 3-60) beat Nottinghamshire 128 and 183 (Hameed 58, Waite 3-34) by an innings and 79 runs
With rain forecast late on Day 3, Worcestershire needed just four wickets to wrap up an innings victory over Division Two leaders Nottinghamshire inside three days and did so in 68 mins and 98 deliveries.
With the September chill in the air, the visitor’s best hope to offer resistance on a seamer-friendly pitch was snuffed out as early as the second over of the day when a good length delivery by Dillon Pennington lifted to take the splice of Tom Moores’ bat and was caught by a running Brett D’Oliveira at short third man.
Liam Patterson-White was pinned plumb in front by Pennington in his next over with the score 142-8. In the backdrop of an innings loss looming, Brett Hutton and Jake Ball put on a 40-run stand in nearly 12 overs to delay the inevitable as the duo survived a barrage of short balls and bumpers.
Jake Ball edged through to Gareth Roderick in the 52nd over off Josh Tongue before Dane Paterson followed suit, seven balls later, in a similar fashion, wafting at a delivery outside off-stump, to register only their second loss of the season and hand the hosts their fourth win.
Nottinghamshire’s riposte with the bat totaled 86.4 overs across both innings, 31.5 overs lesser than their host’s efforts in the first dig. Haseeb Hameed, who top-scored for the visitors with 37 and 58 and brought up 1000 First Class runs this season in the process, looked to brush aside the defeat as an aberration and backed the side to bounce back against Durham next week to seal the title.
“We recognized it was a new-ball wicket and we had to work hard to get through the new ball. They bowled really well and they had five seamers to call upon and they came hard at us.”
“We take the learnings from this game and make sure we are ready come Monday,” he said. “We’ll just go through what we have been doing through the course of the year and we have to remember that we have played some good cricket throughout the season. We need to fall back on what we have been doing really well and move on from this game.”
Worcestershire are still in the running for promotion as they move temporarily to the third position but will need plenty of other results to go in their favor and will have their hopes pinned on the proceedings in Cardiff and Leicester.
A visibly satisfied Alex Gidman, the Worcestershire Head Coach, heaped praise on the players and described it as a “one to 11 an outstanding team performance.”
“It is hard enough the first innings of a game, and 10.30am in September at New Road is going to be tricky, but I thought we applied ourselves ever so well, tried to do the right things, and we got our rewards later that day.”
“Everyone has contributed. Even the guys who failed with the bat, they were great in the field, caught well, and had loads of energy and enthusiasm.”
The Worcestershire supporters in the Graeme Hick Pavilion who applauded the players off the field will remember the game for Gareth Roderick’s rearguard century that rescued his side from 99-5 to go along with his seven catches. Equally delighted will they be for Pennington’s career-best haul of 42 wickets as 23 points from the game is cause for optimism heading into the final fixture of the season against Middlesex.