At 110/6, Glamorgan’s decision to bowl first looked to be a good one, but by the end of play Worcestershire had dragged themselves back into the match, through the bat of returning captain Brett D’Oliveira, aided by Logan van Beek and new recruit, Ben Allison. It looks like being warm work for the bowlers over the next three days.
Summer has returned just in time for the final chapter of this year’s County Championship and in a game that could have a significant influence on who joins Durham in Division One next year, the players took the field under blue skies. Glamorgan brought in off-spinning all-rounder, Ben Kellaway for his first-class debut and with Chris Cooke batting at seven, planned to rely on Zain ul-Hassan as the fourth seamer. Worcestershire had D’Oliveira back but have been hit by injuries to bowlers such that Essex seamer Ben Allison has joined them on loan. They omitted spinner Josh Baker from their starting eleven, presumably as a result of the amount of rain that has fallen and Logan van Beek started his first red ball game for Worcestershire.
The Glamorgan opening bowlers maintained a tight line and runs were hard to come by with the ball tending to hold up. Their main wicket taker this season, Timm van der Gugten was the first to strike, inducing Jake Libby, Worcestershire’s top run scorer, to fence at one outside off stump and wicket keeper Cooke did the rest. 9/1 became 28/2 as Azhar Ali went tamely, chipping a ball from Jamie McIlroy into the hands of Eddie Byron at mid wicket. The run of single figure scores was completed by Jack Haynes who edged a delivery from James Harris that bounced slightly more than he expected. At 33/3 Adam Hose joined Gareth Roderick and they started to look more comfortable, moving the score on to 72/3 at lunch. Roderick had been put down on 23 by van der Gugten at third slip off the bowling of ul-Hassan, a difficult chance diving to his right. However, he was unable to build significantly on this bit of good fortune as Harris trapped him lbw for 43 in the third over after lunch, leaving Worcestershire on 78/4. Hose started to play some shots and the 100 came up in the 38th over. Three balls later Kashif Ali was dismissed in identical fashion to Azhar Ali and Hose (43) then played one too many aggressive shots, giving McIlroy his third when he edged a ball to Colin Ingram at first slip. That made it 110/6. The rest of the session followed the pattern of the first, with Brett D’Oliveira and Logan van Beek punishing any loose deliveries. Van Beek went to his half century just before tea, off just 73 balls and they went into the break on 202/6. Worryingly for Glamorgan, van der Gugten limped off with a hamstring injury with one ball left in his 17th over. He missed a significant chunk of last season with the same issue, and it makes the signing of another quick bowler even more urgent.
Carlson and Kellaway bowled their off spin in tandem just before tea and when Carlson continued after the resumption he was soon in the wickets, van Beek giving him a sharp return catch, out for 53. He and D’Oliveira had put on 101 for the seventh wicket. D’Oliveira has a history of scoring runs against Glamorgan and with the support of Allison he took Worcestershire to 245/7 after 80 overs, at which point the new ball was taken. Allison is an imposing figure at 6 feet 6 inches tall and he demonstrated why he came into this game with a first-class average of 29.44, as the two batters made McIlroy and Harris work hard. They moved the score on to 275, a stand of 64, before Allison dragged on a ball from Harris for 37. Ul-Hassan then induced an edge from Joe Leach as he went for 1 and in his next over Dillon Pennington mistimed a drive into the hands of mid off. Worcestershire finished on 284 and Glamorgan were left needing to bat out two overs. Byron went out with Harris acting as night watchman and they successfully completed the assignment.
With the forecast of temperatures in the high twenties over the next three days, Glamorgan will be hoping to bat long in order to give their depleted attack a good rest. After the early help for the bowlers, batting has become easier and despite the expectation of three full days of play, a draw is looking the most likely outcome.