PREVIEW: Worcestershire v Lancashire
Match Preview: Worcestershire v Lancashire, Specsavers County Championship
Read our full match preview ahead of the Worcestershire v Lancashire Specsavers County Championship clash at Blackfinch New Road, which will begin on Wednesday 20 June.
Worcestershire v Lancashire
Specsavers County Championship
Wednesday June 20
Blackfinch New Road
Lancashire’s seventh County Championship outing takes them to Blackfinch New Road, where they will take on bottom of the table Worcestershire.
The Red Rose are bidding for a second win and are aiming to bounce back from their most recent defeat to Essex at Emirates Old Trafford a week last Monday.
It is the start of a hugely important fortnight for Glen Chapple’s side, who host Hampshire at Emirates Old Trafford from Monday ahead of the break for the Vitality Blast.
Lancashire will have to do without their captain Liam Livingstone and leg-spinner Matthew Parkinson for the next two Championship matches due to Lions duty.
Worcestershire will hand a debut to New Zealand batsman Martin Guptill, a former Lancashire overseas player.
Guptill replaces Callum Ferguson for the next two Championship matches and will play alongside Australians Ferguson and Travis Head at various stages throughout the forthcoming Vitality Blast. He is available for the first eight matches of that competition.
Worcestershire have had a mixed season so far.
They were excellent in the Royal London one-day Cup and reached the semi-finals, only to be beaten in a thriller by Kent at New Road on Sunday.
But they have struggled on their return to Division One of the County Championship.
New coach Kevin Sharp has seen his side lose four of their five matches, drawing the other, to sit on 26 points. They are 25 behind second-bottom Hampshire with a game in hand and 26 behind Yorkshire in seventh having played the same number.
Last time out, they were beaten at home by Essex in a close fought game which just went the way of the champions at the end of the third day.
This will be the first Championship meeting between the two counties since 2013, when Lancashire were in Division Two and on course for promotion.
The Red Rose, captained by Glen Chapple, won a late August clash by nine wickets on day four.
Kyle Hogg took four wickets as the hosts, invited to bat, were bowled out for 287, including a century for Moeen Ali.
Chapple opened the batting as nightwatchman with an over to face at the end of the day before Simon Katich’s 105 underpinned a reply of 441.
Moeen hit his second century of the match in Worcester’s 241 all out, including three wickets apiece for Hogg, Chapple and Tom Smith.
That meant a Lancashire target of 88, which they achieved for the loss of only Paul Horton. Luis Reece finished with an unbeaten 56.
WHAT THEY SAID:
Joe Mennie is hoping Lancashire can make the most of the next two Championship matches across nine days ahead of the break for T20.
Lancashire face Worcestershire and then host second-bottom Hampshire at Emirates Old Trafford from Monday.
“Ideally we’d like to get a couple of wins to propel us forward,” said the Australian overseas seamer.
“That block of T20 is coming up, which means a break. A couple of wins now would put us in good stead (for when we return to four-day action).”
Mennie has taken 20 wickets and scored 188 runs in his first five Championship appearances, and he is loving life with Lancashire.
He said: “It’s been lots of fun. The lads have been really good, and the cricket’s been of a really high standard.
“To come up against some different players has been enjoyable.
“Back home, you know all the players and where to bowl, so that’s been different. I’ve had to watch some footage and do plenty of research.
“It’s been a very good learning experience.
“You’re bowling in different conditions and sussing out other players.
“James Anderson came back for a couple of games, and I’ve played a bit with Graham Onions now. Their career records speak for themselves.
“To be able to rub shoulders with them and pick their brains has helped immensely.”