Worcestershire 178 (Mulder 3-27, Salisbury 3-56) and 169 (Libby 67, Wright 4-44) beat Leicestershire 110 (Pennington 4-36, Waite 3-24) and 137 (Tongue 5-29, Pennington 3-25) by 100 runs
Both fast bowlers are taking the well-travelled road to Nottinghamshire, a county that seems to sign players from other counties as frequently as Imelda Marcos bought shoes. But both will, one assumes, be required by Worcestershire for the remainder of a season in which Brett D’Oliveira’s side have genuine promotion hopes. Such aspirations were boosted this morning when the visitors took just five overs to complete their 100-run victory over Leicestershire at Oakham School. The win takes Worcestershire level on points with their hosts this week and only Durham are currently above them in the Second Division table.
And maybe it was particularly encouraging that both Pennington and Tongue played major roles in the triumph. Pennington did not bowl on the final morning of this game – only Tongue and Matthew Waite were required – but at least his match figures of 7 for 61 might have gone some way to assuage the affront caused when he recently undertook some publicity about his move to Trent Bridge while still a Worcestershire player.
Tongue’s situation was even more complex. Earlier this week he was with the England squad at Emirates Old Trafford but having been released from Test Match commitments, he was free to join his county at Oakham, where he replaced Adam Finch and wreaked havoc.
Having dismissed Peter Handscomb and Wiaan Mulder in the space of three balls on the second evening, Tongue was even more lickety-split about his work on this third morning His third ball tempted Rehan Ahmed into a loose drive that only succeeded in edging a catch to Gareth Roderick, an admirable cricketer who had a quietly impressive match behind the stumps.
Having removed the only player capable of winning the game for Leicestershire, Tongue then sealed his side’s victory four overs later before many of the press pack had finished their morning coffee. Callum Parkinson was caught by Azhar Ali for 14 and Matt Salisbury yorked for a second-ball nought. The players trooped off the field at just gone 11.15 and some of them might have wondered why they had bothered to change into their whites.
Within half an hour the accessories needed for county cricket were being dismantled, the pitch was being covered and Alan Richardson, Worcestershire’s head coach was reflecting on his side’s third victory of the season.
“For us to be successful it is not going to be about one or two people, it is going to be a squad effort, with people stepping up at different times,” said Richardson. “In this game I thought Matthew Waite bowled extremely well, him and Joe [Leach] at that far end kept control of the game, allowing Adam Finch in the first innings, Josh in the second and Dillon throughout to do their stuff at the other end.”
“Obviously I’m disappointed that Josh and Dillon are leaving but at the same time they are still our players and they still want to perform for us for the rest of the season, to help us achieve our goals and having them in the team makes us better. We aren’t going to change our opinion on that just because they are leaving at the end of the season.”