Illingworth goes against type

CRICKET
Click to follow
DEREK HODGSON

reports from Worcester

Worcs 204 and 265-7 dec

Surrey 183 and 152

Worcs win by 134 runs

With six men around the bat, Richard Illingworth was belying his reputation as a fire-'em-in one-day operator here and bowling like a proper spinner, giving the ball both loop and turn. Surrey had been asked to score 287 in a minimum of 74 overs but, with their middle undermined, they fell away to lose by 134 with six of the last 20 overs remaining. Instead of sustaining a fourth successive defeat, Worcestershire celebrated their first Championship victory on the heels of a Benson and Hedges quarter- final win.

Illingworth now has 21 first-class wickets this season, a good record considering his home pitch rarely suits him and he usually has to queue behind four seamers to get a bowl, home or away. His first spell of 15- 7-19-2 was an indication of why he is reporting with England today.

Throughout the game the pitch has been more awkward in the morning and Worcestershire's hopes of quick scoring early yesterday were dashed by accurate bowling from Carl Rackemann and Joey Benjamin.

Tim Curtis took an hour to add to his score, a caution reinforced by the departure of Gavin Haynes to the first ball. Only 21 were raised in the first hour and when Curtis tried to open up against Tony Pigott he chopped on to his stumps.

So Worcestershire limped into a lunchtime declaration that left Surrey's powerful line-up an asking rate of no more than 3.88 an over - their only real concern, it seemed, the behaviour of the pitch.

Darren Bicknell was Newport's mandatory sacrificial victim in his opening burst, but once Mark Butcher had begun driving him through extra cover, and Stewart had turned on Haynes and Neal Radford, Surrey took command.

Ah, but New Road is never short of a surprise or two: Butcher and Graham Thorpe were bang in front and three overs after Thorpe's dismissal, at 102, the advent of Illingworth brought Stewart's downfall, stretching to drive and giving mid-off a low catch.

With Ally Brown and Adam Hollioake in possession a win was still within reach until, at 115, Brown was seduced as easily as Stewart, driving to short extra cover. When Graham Kersey was lbw on Radford's return at 128, the shutters were drawn, Stuart Lampitt then sharply slicing off the tail with Illingworth returning to apply the coup de grace.

Comments