Inspired Spiring lifts Worcestershire

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reports from Worcester

Yorkshire 321 Worcestershire 147-3

The chairman of selectors, Ray Illingworth, was still unable to get a selector to New Road on the second day - are there any old selectors available for part-time jobbing ? - but it was the "A" team candidates for Australia in October, rather than Test hopefuls against Pakistan next month, who shone in the gloom and drizzle.

Reuben Spiring, 21-year-old son of the old Liverpool striker Peter, led a Worcestershire counter- attack and reached another half-century with a smashing square cut off Darren Gough. He now has four 50s and a century in six matches.

Fast-medium Chris Silverwood, also 21, is a new kind of cricketer, teetotal and a karate black belt.He took two wickets in two balls, including Tom Moody's.

After waiting until 2 p.m. to start, Yorkshire might have profited more from an overnight declaration at 312-7. They batted another half-hour to gain just nine runs for three wickets. David Byas must have hoped for another rapid 50 but Gough dollied to cover after attempting an horrendous heave. Stuart Lampitt's length and direction was altogether too good for Silverwood and Richard Stemp.

And if Byas was hoping that his seamers would be as effective he was gravely disappointed. The pitch may not have been as lively as on Thursday, although it must be wearing. Gough was quick but his direction wavered, while Hartley found the line without winning much movement before leaving the field with a side strain.

Eleven overs had gone before Gough trapped Phil Weston and another 20 had been added before Silverwood, who had replaced Hartley after three overs, cheered Yorkshire's travelling support with his two wickets. Matthew Church, on 29, just cleared short leg's upstretched fingertips from the last ball of Gough's ninth over.He took the run but was pinned on the back foot by Silverwood's first ball of the next over.The next one was even better, cutting in past Moody's forward jab to brush the pads and trim the off bail. The structure of the innings creaked and cracked.

At such moments it's always helpful to have Tim Curtis at one end. He spent 12 overs for his first three runs but his was the solid dependable figure to reassure Spiring. Spiring's confidence seems unlimited, however. He greeted Craig White by driving and cutting him for three boundaries in an over.

Before the evening rain arrived the newly capped Stemp, despite a wet ball, had virtually blocked off one end. Yorkshire's lucky run with the weather has now ended.

n Only two overs were possible on the second day of Lancashire's Championship game against Somerset at Old Trafford yesterday.

Heavy morning rain delayed the start until 10 to three and after Steve Titchard and Mike Watkinson had added seven runs to Lancashire's overnight 373 for 5 another torrential shower forced the umpires, Trevor Jesty and Alan Whitehead, to abandon play.

Watkinson was left one run short of his first Championship 50 of the season while Titchard moved to 121 not out.