Bob Willis Trophy: Tom Fell makes 81 not out as Pears build on slight first-innings lead at Northampton

Tom Fell hit his first half century in first-class cricket for Worcestershire in almost two years
Tom Fell hit his first half century in first-class cricket for Worcestershire in almost two years
Bob Willis Trophy, County Ground, Northampton (day three):
Worcestershire 219: Wessels 88, Cox 39, Haynes 38; Muzarabani 4-29, Buck 3-67 & 177-6: Fell 81*, Buck 3-30
Northamptonshire 212: Berg 45, Buck 32; Barnard 4-46, Tongue 3-42, Leach 3-54
Worcestershire (4 pts) lead Northants (4 pt) by 184 runs with six wickets remaining
Scorecard

Tom Fell made 81 not out, his highest first-class score since September 2018, to help put Worcestershire in a strong position with a 184-run overnight advantage against Northamptonshire.

After bowling out Northants for 212, for a slight first-innings lead, Worcestershire closed on 177-6.

Fell escaped an early edged drive and survived a run-out chance after Blessing Muzarabani's poor throw.

But he shared a second-wicket stand of 67 with Daryl Mitchell, who made 39.

After tea, Jack Haynes became a second ally as Fell passed past 50 for the 22nd time in his 82-match career.

He and Haynes added 59 in 17 but Northamptonshire worked their way back into the game in the last hour of a long and surprisingly uninterrupted day with three wickets for 11 in 19 balls.

Earlier in the day Northamptonshire slipped to 100-7 but positive batting from Gareth Berg - with a county-best 45 - and Buck dragged the hosts out of trouble with a stand of 59 in 11.2 overs.

Berg was last out as Northamptonshire made 212 to claim their first batting point of the season.

Northants fast bowler Nathan Buck told BBC Radio Northampton:

"It's on a knife edge. It's anyone's game to win. The wicket didn't flatten out but did get better. Tom Fell played very well for them and batted a lot of time but it's hard to start on this pitch.

"I felt if I tried to play straight I was a sitting duck so I took some calculated risks and luckily it came off. It's worked quite a few times for me and when I showed some intent it put the pressure back onto them.

"I've loved taking the new ball and having that responsibility. I've been more consistent this year and given Adam Rossington some control."

Worcestershire batsman Tom Fell told BBC Hereford & Worcester:

"Early on it was hard work and the ball nipped around but as the day went on it felt like it slowed up a bit but you still had to grind it out.

"I've felt really good all season and I feel my game's as good as it's been for a long long time so it's nice to get a score.

"I don't think there's any rush. It's the type of wicket where you can take 10 wickets in 60-70 overs."

Match report supplied by PA Media.

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