August 2, 2001

Rain saves Worcestershire from Durham demolition job

Rain probably prevented a swift demolition job on Worcestershire's batting in a short but eventful first day in the annual Championship match at Kidderminster.

Beaten in their last four visits to the Birmingham League venue, the home side fared no better in struggling to 149 for 7 in three hours' play.

Their struggle probably had more to do with overhead conditions than any change in a pitch renowned for heavy scoring since Kidderminster was restored to the first-class fixture-list in 1987.

The ball swung about for Durham's squad of seamers, but the first wicket was down to error when Philip Weston was run out by an underarm throw from Jimmy Daley after playing the ball into the covers.

The cost had to measured by the loss of Graeme Hick, lbw without playing a shot, and Vikram Solanki, edging to first slip, in successive balls from Nicky Hatch at the beginning of the following over.

The 6ft 7in Hatch then found some bounce to have David Leatherdale caught behind for impressive spell figures of 8-3-15-3.

Anurag Singh and Paul Pollard then counter-attacked, both reaching 45, but James Brinkley broke their stand of 62 when Graeme Bridge held a stinging chance from Singh at third slip.

James Brinkley, playing against his first county, took that wicket and there were two for Danny Law as Durham maintained the pressure after lunch.

Pollard went lbw and Steve Rhodes edged to first slip, but Andy Bichel kept Worcestershire afloat with an unbeaten 32.

Durham survived an injury scare when Nicky Peng damaged a hand while fielding a shot from Pollard at short leg but x-rays revealed no fracture.