Cricket: Leatherdale rampant on seamers' day

Gloucestershire 188 Worcestershire 111-8
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ALTHOUGH THE best part of two days had been lost to the weather, there was thankfully no need for contrivance here yesterday. A seam bowlers' pitch on which 18 wickets fell saw to that.

If the ball continues to move about it should be a right old gritty finale today.

So far no one has made a half-century and all those who have scored runs have needed their share of luck. With the middle of the bat difficult to locate, the nick through the slips has tended to be the featured stroke. Odd, therefore, that both sides felt they could do without a third man for lengthy periods.

Having sampled 11 testing overs when they were put in on the first day, Gloucestershire knew what to expect but, if anything, the ball tended to dart around more on a surface that had sweated under the covers for 48 hours. Sometimes it bounced unevenly, too.

Thus only bowling that was either very full or very short could be dealt with with any certainty. It was only when Worcestershire's accuracy wavered that Tony Wright, putting the half-volleys away, and Matt Windows, making the most of any width that came his way, were able to add 85 for the fourth wicket.

This pitch seemed ideal for bowlers of around medium pace, able to put the ball in the right place consistently.

When David Leatherdale appeared he immediately had Wright caught behind and moving the ball from a full length went on to take five for 20, the best figures of his career. Gloucestershire's last seven wickets disappeared for 35 runs.

As often happens in these conditions, not everyone got out to an unplayable ball. When Worcestershire batted, Abdul Hafeez turned something resembling a leg stump half- volley into square leg's hands, but when Tom Moody lost his leg stump to a yorker from Countney Walsh, Worcestershire knew that torrid times lay ahead. When Phil Weston was caught off bat and pad, it was 12 for 3.

Mark Alleyne, discovering he could also move the ball around at an accurate medium pace, prising out Vikram Solanki and Gavin Haynes, which left the two Yorkshiremen, Leatherdale and Steve Rhodes, to dig in as much as this pitch would permit.