Libby haunts former club with fine century

Worcestershire 305-7 from 96 overs.

Friday, 23rd April 2021, 7:46 am
Jake Libby returned to haunt his former team-mates. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Worcestershire opener Jake Libby scored a memorable hundred against his former county before Nottinghamshire fought back strongly with the ball on the opening day of the LV=Insurance County Championship encounter at New Road.

Libby followed up his 180 not out against Essex in the opening game at Chelmsford by hitting 117 from 217 balls with two sixes and 10 fours after home captain Joe Leach opted to bat.

He and opener Daryl Mitchell shared an opening stand of 140 but then seven wickets went down for 76 runs as spinner Liam Patterson-White extracted some turn and Luke Fletcher bowled with great discipline.

But the day took another twist in the final session with Ed Barnard on 40 and Alzarri Joseph with 46 not out adding an unbeaten 89 to lift the final total to 305-7.

The Worcestershire openers played with great freedom and Libby brought up his half century and the hundred partnership in unusual circumstances after playing Steve Mullaney to deep cover for two.

The ball was returned to keeper Tom Moores who tried to run Mitchell out with a throw to the non-striker’s end but instead the ball raced away for four overthrows.

Libby hit six conventional boundaries in his 86 ball fifty, plus the one six, while the century stand occupied 26.2 overs.

Mitchell’s first Championship half century of the season was completed with a leg glance for his sixth four off Chappell.

The partnership was broken on 140 when Mitchell on 59 drove at a widish delivery from Luke Fletcher and edged through to keeper Tom Moores.

Only one run was added before Tom Fell (1) looked to work Chappell of his legs and was lbw.

The Nottinghamshire attack bowled a tighter line during the afternoon session.

Gareth Roderick (1) nibbled at a delivery from Paterson which moved away and provided Moores with a comfortable catch.

A superb piece of fielding from Fletcher led to Brett D’Oliveira’s downfall on three.

He steered Patterson-White to backward point and was called through for a single by Libby. But D’Oliveira hesitated setting off and failed to beat Fletcher’s direct hit at the non-striker’s end.

Libby brought up his 100 in the grand manner when he pulled a short ball from Paterson over the square leg boundary.

Riki Wessels (13) was bowled by a superb Patterson-White delivery which pitched on the middle stump and hit off and Libby nicked a widish ball from Fletcher through to Moores.

It became 216-7 when Ben Cox went lbw after paddle sweeping at Patterson-White but then Barnard and Joseph redressed the balance.

Afterwards, Libby said: “It is always nice to do well against your old team. It means a little bit more playing against your team-mates of old. It did mean slightly more.

“I’ve played with these guys and in the nets over the years and to play against them is a little bit strange but an experience I enjoyed.

“I always got on really well with Fletch (Luke Fletcher) and he bowled really well today and it was always going to be a good challenge playing against him.

“I’ve played this game long enough to know it soon brings you back down to earth so never get too high or low really. I’m just enjoying my form at the minute and not getting too carried away with it.

“After lunch I think they bowled really well. Zak (Chappell) got it to reverse a little bit and Fletch did what he did all day and gave us nothing. It was a good spell for them.

“Ideally we would have liked to have lost a few less wickets in that period but we came through it and it was a good partnership between AJ (Anton Joseph) and Barny (Ed Barnard) at the end which has put us back in a good position really.”

Nottinghamshire paceman Luke Fletcher, who picked up two wickets and ended with figures of 2-43 from 23 overs, said: “Worcestershire came out well and won the opening session but we came out and won the second and then Worcestershire edged the third with (Alzarri) Joseph and (Ed) Barnard.

“After lunch, we changed tactics a bit and tried to be as attritional as we could and brought the stumps into play and got our rewards.

“Liam (Patterson-White) is only a young lad and just making his way in the game and to bowl 30 overs in the day is tough really. He will sleep well tonight.

“He looked threatening and beat both edges of the bat and I’m pleased he got a couple of wickets.

“Jake (Libby) is a class player and Worcestershire have got a good one there and he played well and it was a chanceless knock.”