Cricket: Worcestershire rallied by Rhodes

Worcestershire 227 Lancashire 19-2

STEVEN RHODES has come along way from his native Bradford but there is probably still enough of the Tyke in him to bristle at the sight of caps bearing red roses.

Worcestershire were 63 for 5 in damp, seamy conditions, the cue for his first half-century of the summer, as much an indication of his team's batting form as of his own resilience. Watching Lancastrians were soon asking: have they recovered well or have we let them off the hook? A little of both, actually.

John Crawley's team had the advantage from the moment he won the toss, two days having been lost to rain. Phil Weston checked suspiciously at the fourth ball and lobbed to mid-off, and after a brisk 22 from the powerful, upright Elliott Wilson, who caned Glen Chapple's irregularities in length, wickets fell to the five seamers of whom Peter Martin was far and away the best.

Yet much of Lancashire's fielding, and some of their throwing, was slapdash.Chris Schofield, the only young English leg-spinner, was omitted leaving the unanswered question: were Tich Freeman, Doug Wright and Eric Hollies played only when the captain thought the pitch suited them?

This pitch played better than expected but there must have been sufficient damp for Gary Yates to have been offered more than the first mandatory over for spinners, the last before tea. Maybe the thought of Graeme Hick on this ground inhibits captains but he, too, did not last, playing half forward, after a highly competent and threatening 31, to a ball that must have left him late. Hick, even in a burst as brief as this was, can soon banish all notions of spin from the captain's mind.

So it was left to Rhodes, who had hit 10 fours in his 74 off only 103 balls when he was ninth out, aided by assorted tail-enders all of whom contributed, to send Worcestershire marching triumphantly to their 11th batting point of the summer and to ensure that this game, almost certainly, will not bring Lancashire's fifth successive victory.

n An innings of 263 from Stuart Law helped Essex score 544 all out against Somerset at Chelmsford. Trailing by 298 runs, Somerset faced an uphill task to make Essex bat again and had reached 13 for 1 before their second innings was interrupted by bad light.

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