KSN are proud to support:

Worcestershire take control at Canterbury
Worcestershire take control at Canterbury

A Gareth Roderick century left Worcestershire in a commanding position after day one of their Vitality County Championship with Kent at Canterbury.

The visitors were 308 for five at stumps, with Roderick hitting 117 from 281 balls, after the former Kent second XI player Kashif Ali had given them a platform with 72. Adam Hose was unbeaten on 50 at stumps, reaching his half-century with a single off Nathan Gilchrist in the final over of the day.

Matt Parkinson took two for 79, but it was largely a torpid day in the field for Kent, who struggled to make anything happen on a benign wicket until Joey Evison claimed late two wickets to end the day with figures of two for 39.

The day began in sombre fashion, with an emotive minute’s applause for Worcestershire’s Josh Baker, who died last week at the age of just 20. Both teams wore black armbands and the flags flew at half mast over the Frank Woolley Stand.

A crowd of over 1,000 made the most of the first genuinely warm day of the season at The Spitfire Ground and to no one’s surprise the visitors chose to bat after winning the toss.

Kent’s new overseas signing Beyers Swanepoel generated some early swing, but the hosts’ only victim during the morning session was Jake Libby, who had looked lively on his way to 19 until he was lbw to a Wes Agar delivery so plumb he turned and walked off before the umpire even had time to raise his finger.

It was 94 for one at lunch and although Kent weren’t bowling badly, Roderick and Ali looked largely untroubled. They put on 136 for the second wicket, until the latter began to look jittery against Parkinson, eventually nicking him to keeper Harry Finch.

Brett D’Oliveira got a start, but having almost nicked Parkinson to Daniel Bell-Drummond at the start of the 61st over he went a couple of deliveries later, snared by the Kent captain at first slip for 18.

It was 210 for three at tea, but if the D’Oliveira wicket had briefly revived Kent’s hopes, they faded during the evening as Adam Hose joined Roderick for a partnership of 102 that seriously dented home morale.

Roderick drove Agar through cow corner to reach 100 but Evison belatedly gave a dwindling number of home supporters something to smile about when he sent his off stump cart-wheeling, before getting the night-watcher Joe Leach lbw for 1 at the end of the penultimate over.

Worcestershire’s Gareth Roderick said: “It was a very emotional day, obviously. It was a lovely tribute for Josh. The boys are devastated about what’s happened but we’ve pulled together as a group. It was a lovely ovation in his memory and I think it affected the boys quite deeply.

“We were quite moved and we certainly felt his presence with us today. We talked about it this morning, sometimes things are a bit bigger than cricket and a bit more important so I think today was just to make sure we pulled together as a unit to remember him. That’s what we did and thankfully we put together a decent day.

“Being brutally honest this morning the round of applause had quite a profound effect on me. I didn’t think it would, maybe naively, but I certainly felt him today and I thought about him quite a lot when I was out there. I think the boys can all feel him sitting on their shoulders sat in the dressing room.

(On back to back hundreds) “I was very disappointed to get out at the end, but it was nice wicket to bat on. There’s not a huge amount of pace on it, so at times it was tough to score, it was very true and I think once you get in on there you can kick on.”

Kent’s Beyers Swanepoel said: “Obviously it wasn’t an ideal start or what you want for a four-day game. The wicket was pretty on the flat side (but) we still wanted to bowl first when you can still get something out of it because it’s going to get slower and lower as the game progresses. So yes, it wasn’t an ideal start but cricket is a funny game, it can change quickly. Hopefully we can rock up tomorrow, take a few wickets and get batting.

“Parky was unreal, he’s a very good, patient bowler with a lot of skill. Especially after halfway it started turning so for him to crack through the door for those two wickets was absolutely brilliant. He’s a top-class bowler and we back him all the way.

“Joey was unreal, swinging the ball both ways, getting those two wickets at the end of the day and the nightwatch as well so yes, the ball’s still new tomorrow so maybe we can get a few more tomorrow and then start batting.”