Worcestershire overcome stubborn fight
Worcestershire 457 (Moeen 123, Pardoe 89, Andrew 66, Mitchell 63, Miles 6-99) and 33 for 0 beat Gloucestershire 234 (Richardson 8-37) and 254 (Roderick 79*, Richardson 4-70) by 10 wickets
Worcestershire completed back-to-back wins in Division Two of the LV= County Championship as they beat Gloucestershire by 10 wickets at New Road. The home side dismissed their local rivals for 254, having been kept waiting by a career-best 79 not out by South African newcomer Gareth Roderick, and quickly reached a victory target of 32.
Called into the side as deputy for Cameron Herring, Roderick, a 21-year-old KwaZulu Natal wicketkeeper, underlined his capability as a batsman by holding up Worcestershire for more than four hours on his Championship debut. A British passport holder, he was signed on a two-year deal by Gloucestershire after breaking the West of England League record with 1,231 runs for Cheltenham last season.
With Roderick calm and assured, facing 169 balls and picking off just eight boundaries, he found a like-minded partner in James Fuller, a New Zealand Under-19 international who plays for Otago. They put on 99 in 41 overs before Fuller got himself out for 42, pulling a short ball from Gareth Andrew to mid-on. But teenager Craig Miles, who made 20, stayed with Roderick for 17 overs in another stand that tested Worcestershire's patience.
Chris Russell, the most threatening bowler on the day, eventually came to the home side's rescue with two wickets in three balls. Neil Pinner held a low catch from Miles and a straight delivery was too sharp for last man Liam Norwell.
Worcestershire, relegated from Division One last September, have transformed their season by taking 42 points in the space of eight days. Bottom of the table before travelling to Kent last week, they are now among the promotion-chasing pack on the back of successive 12-wicket match returns by 38-year-old Alan Richardson.
Having taken 12 for 63 at Canterbury, he wrecked Gloucestershire's batting with a career-best eight for 37 on the opening day and followed up with 4 for 70 in their slide to another defeat on their unlucky ground. Since their last win at New Road since 1986, Gloucestershire have lost 11 times in 18 visits, with six games drawn and another abandoned without a ball being bowled.
When they began the last day at 87 for 5, Richardson added one more wicket, trapping Benny Howell leg-before, and a quick wrap-up seemed likely when Andrew bowled Jack Taylor. But the talented Roderick had other ideas and Worcestershire were unexpectedly taken beyond tea before their openers, Daryl Mitchell and Matt Pardoe, confirmed their victory in only 4.1 overs.