Worcester Reflections

For me, May ended and June began at the one and only Worcester, where the home county beat Essex in a relatively low-scoring LV Division Two game on a track which, although it settled down a bit in the Saturday sunshine, always gave the bowlers plenty of assistance. Few batsmen from either side coped well with it; the exceptions being Worcestershire's young local opener Daryl Mitchell, the evergreen and always under-rated Ben Smith, whose double of 60 and 71 went a long way towards securing Worcestershire's victory and Ravi Bopara, whose gritty and patient second innings 85 - the innings of a potential Test player - made sure that Essex went down with a fight.

For the bowlers it was largely a matter of getting the ball in the right place and letting the pitch do the rest, especially at the Diglis End, but, while Steve Magoffin was desperately unlucky on the final day and Kabir Ali also bowled well, the stand-out seamer was Simon Jones, who bowled with pace, accuracy and desire to take eight in the game. Bowling like this there's no doubt he'd be an asset to England (and he clearly thinks so too), but he only bowled 18 complete overs and he'll need to adjust to a heavier workload before he's really ready. The signs, though, are very, very good.

Lastly a word about a young cricketer who I talked up a lot two years ago but who's been forgotten amid the attention lavished on Prior and Ambrose since. This may be no bad thing, as Steven Davies needs time and space to develop away from the limelight but, to me, everything he does, both with keeping and batting gloves on, carries an unmistakeable air of class and assurance, even if he isn't cashing in.

I still think he's an England player of the future and, rising 22, he has time on his side.

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