Bowlers dominate at New Road
Northamptonshire 134 for 6 (White 58) trail Worcestershire 146 (Hick 46, Wigley 4-43, Lucas 4-49) by 12 runs
Sixteen wickets fell on the opening day at New Road with Worcestershire's Championship batting problems continuing as they fell to 146 all out. However, the home side fought back during the final session to reduce Northamptonshire to 134 for 6.
While South Africa were beginning their Test series at Lord's, Johann van der Wath, a former team-mate, began the wicket-taking with two early strikes as Worcestershire stumbled to 22 for 3. Vikram Solanki and Graeme Hick added 81, but it was as false dawn for the batsmen. Hick had also been dropped in startling fashion on 34 when Lance Klusener dropped the simplest of chances off his own bowling from a miscued pull.
David Lucas and David Wigley, after returning from his loan deal at Gloucestershire, ran through the middle and lower order as the last seven wickets fell for 43 runs.
Northamptonshire moved to 99 for 1 with Rob White hitting 58 off 59 balls, but there was a final twist to the day when White fell to Gareth Batty to start another collapse. Michael Mason, back from a long-term injury, had Riki Wessels and David Sales caught behind in just his third Championship match since September 2006. Kabir Ali then grabbed two in the close overs to set up the prospect of a tight encounter.