Worcestershire v Surrey: Joe Leach leads New Road fightback

Worcestershire all-rounder Joe Leach
Leach's knock of 70 off 135 balls included 11 fours
LV= County Championship Division Two, New Road
Close, day one: Worcestershire 272, Surrey 59-0
Surrey 3 pts, Worcestershire 2 pts
Match scorecard

Worcestershire youngster Joe Leach hit his third County Championship half century in five matches at New Road to help his side recover on day one against promotion rivals Surrey.

Despite 54 from England's Moeen Ali, the home side looked in trouble on 133-6 just after lunch.

But, coming in number eight, Leach made 70, sharing a 95-run seventh-wicket stand with Tom Kohler-Cadmore (51).

Surrey responded to Worcestershire's 272 all out by closing on 59-0.

Rory Burns (40 not out) and Zafar Ansari (16 not out) looked comfortable in the 17 overs they received before the close - with the prospect of four Worcestershire old boys Vikram Solanki, Steven Davies, Gareth Batty and Aneesh Kapil (who hit his maiden first-class century last week) all looking forward to having a bat back on their old patch on Wednesday.

How it could all pan out in Division Two
Worcestershire's chances of going up this week are no longer in their own hands. They had to win with 22 points or more this week to be promoted, irrespective of other results. But, having been limited to two batting points, they can no now no longer do that.
Leaders Worcestershire began this week on 214 points - and are now on 216. The maximum total they can now get is 259
Second-placed Hampshire, who are not playing this week, are on 207 points.
Third-placed Surrey began this week on 175 points - and are now on 178. The maximum total they can get is 223
Fourth-placed Essex began this week on 163 points - and are now on 166. The maximum total they can get is 235

After winning the toss and choosing to bat, Worcestershire skipper Daryl Mitchell then rapidly went fourth ball, becoming the first of Jade Dernbach's two wickets.

Moeen and Richard Oliver (23) initially made light of it, going for their shots as if it was a one-day game as the 50 was posted in the ninth over.

But Oliver took the bait when he holed out a trap set at deep square leg and Moeen was bowled to become the second of Matthew Dunn's three morning victims.

Kohler-Cadmore and Leach helped shore thing up in the afternoon session, but old boy Batty nipped in for the final two wickets to limit the home side to two batting points before the Surrey openers started making serious inroads.

Worcestershire batsman Moeen Ali told BBC Hereford & Worcester:

"It's a good pitch and I think we missed the boat. We lost too many wickets in the first session.

"I know we were scoring at a good rate but on a day one pitch you just want to get in and a few of us got in and then got out.

"The guys that got in should have gone on and got some runs but these kind of things happen.

"Obviously I haven't played four-day games for a while so I was a bit rusty but it's really nice to be back, hopefully to get us promoted.

"We've got some really good players. Hopefully going up to Division One will make us better players for next season.

"Maybe they have felt a little bit more pressure but hopefully we can relax now a bit. That's what I tried to do a little bit with the way I batted.

"I really wanted to make sure we got on top of Surrey just to ease the nerves. But we kept losing wickets and getting back into trouble as we were going nicely."

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