Derbyshire denied by Worcestershire rearguard

Wednesday 28th June 2023
Photography by: David Griffin, written by ECB Reporters Network

Worcestershire batted out the final day to secure a draw at New Road, as Derbyshire fell just short of an impressive win.

Centurion Gareth Roderick had Ed Pollock batted through sizeable chunks of the final day to thwart Derbyshire’s push for their first LV=Insurance County Championship victory of the campaign at New Road.

Roderick battled away for five-and-a-quarter hours to make 123 in only his second match since being promoted to open the innings alongside Jake Libby.

Pollock played an out of character knock based on determined defence rather than his free-flowing stroke play to make 56 off 189 balls spanning nearly four hours.

Their efforts were largely responsible for defying the Derbyshire attack and only four wickets fell in the entire day.

Roderick has batted predominantly in the middle order since establishing himself in the keeper-batter role last summer in contrast to his eight seasons with Gloucestershire in the upper echelons of the order.

But he was moved up to number three for the home game against Leicestershire and a second innings knock of 59 spanning five hours helped seal victory on a difficult pitch.

He then opened in the last Championship match against Sussex at Hove and had featured in three half century partnerships with Jake Libby before this marathon knock.

Roderick had spoken of his need to turn promising starts into major contributions and this was a top quality effort mixing aggression with stubborn defence.

Pollock has dropped down into the middle-order in Championship and T20 cricket after a shortage of runs.

But here he got his head down from ball one in support of Roderick and blunted the Derbyshire attack.

It took him 120 balls before he sliced Leus du Plooy down to third man for his first boundary but eating up time and deliveries was the prime consideration.

Derbyshire’s winless run was extended to 10 games but they can take great heart from a performance achieved without their front line attack of Saranga Lakmal, Sam Conners and Zak Chappell while Ben Aitchison was unable to bowl in the second innings because back and hip pain, with the fast bowler awaiting the results of a scan.

Worcestershire reached 105-1 on the opening day but were then second best for the remainder of the game until the defiance by Roderick and Pollock on the final day.

Derbyshire showed more discipline with the ball and greater application with the bat in the first innings.

Three of their batters, du Plooy, Wayne Madsen and Anuj Dal, all reached three figures and they achieved their highest ever score against Worcestershire.

The home side will reflect on poor bowling performance, with the exception of evergreen Joe Leach, and slipshod fielding and Madsen, du Plooy and Dal were all survived dropped catches.

Worcestershire resumed on 70-2 against a Derbyshire attack which was a bowler light after Ben Aitchison had suffered hip and back problems earlier in the game.

Roderick was full of attacking intent and clipped the first delivery of the day from Conor McKerr through mid wicket for four.

The keeper-batter completed a 69 ball half century with a similar shot at Anuj Dal’s expense for his eighth boundary.

Debutant Rehaan Edavalath scrapped away for 62 balls but after making 15 he drove hard at Nick Potts and nicked to Wayne Madsen who held onto a low chance at first slip.

Roderick continued to score freely but Adam Hose managed only a single before he attempted to drive spinner Alex Thomson and was bowled through the gate.

Pollock survived a confident appeal when on two for a legside catch by keeper Brooke Guest off Luis Reece.

Roderick swept Thomson for four to move into the 90s and then his 16th boundary – a steer to third man off Reece – took him to an excellent hundred from 155 balls.

Pollock played an innings out of character with his free-flowing style and scored only five runs from the first 100 balls he faced.

But it was an invaluable effort in the context of Worcestershire attempting to thwart Derbyshire’s victory push.

Derbyshire rotated their bowlers and set unorthodox and imaginative fielders in an attempt to make a decisive breakthrough.

They finally had something to celebrate after the Roderick-Pollock stand of 63 had spanned 38 overs when the latter on 123 pushed forward to Thomson and was caught at short leg.

But Matthew Waite (17 not out from 97 balls) also proved a stubborn line of defence after joining Pollock in the middle.

Pollock gradually accelerated and, after eight overs were lost to rain, drove Dal through the covers to for his 10th four to reach his half century from 181 balls.

But he played a shot out of keeping with the remainder of his innings on 56 when he aimed a leg side blow at Reece and was caught by Dal over his shoulder running back to cover.

Derbyshire Head Of Cricket Mickey Arthur said: “You can’t fault attitude, effort, hunger, effort. The boys have left everything out there.

“The wicket was good. It was flat and we tried everything and we just couldn’t get across the line.

“The only thing I will say with that is that winning is a habit and these days we seem to have too many of those where we don’t win on day four.

“That is something we will continue to keep talking about and I will challenge the guys with.

“I thought our lengths in the first innings were very good with the ball, built pressure, controlled the run rate and that gave us opportunities.

“Our batting, I thought we were outstanding with that. In the second innings, we were a front-line seamer down (Ben Aitchison) and that is never a good thing.

“Leus du Plooy, a fantastic innings and I’m just so chuffed for him because I see him getting better and better.”

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