Worcestershire 118 for 7 (T Price 4-38) trail Gloucestershire 231 (T Price 109, Leach 4-49) by 113 runs
Tom Price scored his maiden first-class century for Gloucestershire and then took a hat-trick to transform his side’s fortunes after they had plunged to 45 for 7 on the opening day of their LV=Insurance County Championship match at New Road.
The 23-year-old reached three figures off 93 balls with four sixes and 11 fours and shepherded his side to a more respectable 231 all out. He then dismissed Azhar Ali, Jack Haynes and Worcestershire club captain Brett D’Oliveira – all caught behind by keeper James Bracey – to register the second hat-trick of his career.
Academy product Price, who had been dismissed for a pair on his debut against Worcestershire in 2020, continued his good start to the season after scoring a half-century and taking six wickets against Glamorgan. He received excellent support from the rest of the lower order including Ajeet Singh Dale who partnered him in a last-wicket stand of 49.Joe Leach maintained his impressive form with a four-wicket haul for the home side.
Worcestershire made two changes from the side beaten at Durham – one of them enforced – with keeper Ben Cox and pace bowler Josh Tongue returning. Cox replaced Gareth Roderick, who injured his thumb in training, for only his second Championship appearance in 11 months, while Tongue is being rotated on a match on-match off basis after his career-threatening shoulder problem.
Gloucestershire’s Tom Price is the 15th player to record a century and a hat-trick in the same first-class match, and it’s the 17th instance. Mike Procter (also for Gloucestershire) and Sohag Gazi (the only man to achieve the feat in a Test) did it twice!https://t.co/aYhy5TPfHz
— Association of Cricket Statisticians & Historians (@ACScricket) April 20, 2023
Unchanged Gloucestershire’s previous Championship match with Yorkshire at Bristol was abandoned without a ball being bowled and they looked ring-rusty after skipper Graeme van Buuren opted to bat.
The new-ball partnership of Leach and Ben Gibbon hit their straps straight away and reduced the visitors to 24 for 5 via a mixture of quality bowling and some poor shot selections. Left-armer Gibbon had returned his career-best match figures of 6 for 147 at Durham and his first over brought two wicket in two balls.
He has worked on being as effective with the new ball as in his later spells and it again paid dividends. Chris Dent edged a back-of-a-length delivery to second slip and the next delivery accounted for James Bracey who fended to gully.
Leach had picked up his 400th wicket for Worcestershire at the Seat Unique Riverside and the long-serving allrounder further added to Gloucestershire’s woes. Miles Hammond drove into the hands of Libby at fourth slip before Leach claimed the prized wicket of Marcus Harris.
The Australian had scored 59 and 148 in the first round against Glamorgan, and was on Wednesday named in his country’s squad for the World Test Championship final and the opening two Ashes Tests. But he contributed only a single before he played back to Leach and was lbw.
Ollie Price departed in the same manner and Gloucestershire were in disarray at 32 for 6 when van Buuren top-edged a pull to Cox off Dillon Pennington.
It got wise when Jack Taylor perished to a fine catch from Gibbon running back from mid-off to give Pennington his second scalp. But from 45 for 7 Price spearheaded an aggressive fightback by his side.
Zafar Gohar helped him add 44 before Cox held onto a fine low catch away to his left to provide Leach with his fourth wicket.
Tom Price cracked a maiden first-class hundred•Getty Images
Price attacked with 4-4-6 off successive balls from Gibbon and he reached his half-century with three boundaries in a row off Pennington.
Marchant de Lange struck three sixes and also provide support for Price before he top edged an attempted pull at Josh Tongue and skied another catch to Cox.
Price was on 52 when last man Dale came to the wicket but he then went into overdrive during a partnership of 81. He surpassed his previous best score of 71 versus Warwickshire at Bristol last summer and a single off Waite took him to three figures from 93 balls with four sixes and 11 fours.
His superb innings ended in unfortunate manner on 109 when Dale straight drove Waite who deflected the ball onto the stumps at the non-striker’s end with Price out of his ground.
When Worcestershire batted, openers Jake Libby and Ed Pollock were relatively untroubled in posting a half-century stand in 14.3 overs. But then four wickets fell in the space of eight balls for one run as Tom Price again took centre stage.
Dale made the first breakthrough in trapping Libby lbw. Azhar Ali and Haynes then both nibbled at deliveries and were caught behind and the hat-trick was completed when D’Oliveira pushed forward and gave Bracey another catch.
Pollock batted responsibly in making 34 before he inside-edged another Tom Price delivery and Bracey again held onto the chance low to his right.
Cox went lbw to Dale after adding 31 with Waite and Dale struck for a third time as Leach was snapped up at gully.