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Joe Leach routs Gloucestershire tail to set up eight-wicket win

Joe Leach took four wickets in a devastating five-over spell PA Images via Getty Images

Worcestershire 428 for 5 (D'Oliveira 91, Mitchell 80, Libby 77) and 113 for 2 beat Gloucestershire 267 and 270 (Hankins 69, Dent 67, Leach 4-70) by eight wickets

Joe Leach took four wickets in a devastating five-over spell to propel Worcestershire to an ultimately comfortable eight-wicket victory over neighbours Gloucestershire in the Bob Willis Trophy Central Group.

Afforded hope by George Hankins' battling innings of 69, Gloucestershire were 73 runs ahead with four second-innings wickets in hand when Worcestershire's captain took the second new ball.

Sensing one final opportunity to force the issue, Leach took matters into his own hands, single-handedly eradicating the tail and finishing with figures of 4 for 70 as the home side were dismissed for 270.

Set 110 to win in 35 overs, Worcestershire reached their target with 8.5 overs to spare, Tom Fell and Jack Haynes staging an unbroken stand of 53 for the third wicket after Daryl Mitchell and Jake Libby had given the chase a sound start.

Commencing the final day on 135 for 3, still 26 runs behind, Gloucestershire were indebted to Hankins, whose patient four-hour vigil occupied 195 balls, yielded 69 runs and served to frustrate Worcestershire's ambition. Together with nightwatchman Josh Shaw, who traded almost exclusively in boundaries in making 21, Hankins first helped Gloucestershire eradicate their overnight arrears.

No sooner were the hosts back in credit though, than Shaw succumbed, trapped lbw by Josh Tongue. Undeterred, Hankins continued to apply himself to the business of steady accumulation, going to 50 via 147 balls, his innings a perfect template for what was required in the circumstances.

No doubt encouraged by memories of Gloucestershire's first-innings collapse, Leach continued to ring the changes, and his imaginative decision to call upon occasional bowler Daryl MItchell paid instant dividends when Ryan Higgins played at and missed a straight ball that rapped him on the back pad.

Worcestershire certainly fancied their chances when removing the hitherto adhesive Hankins shortly after lunch, Tongue cleverly setting him up and then pinning him lbw in his crease for 69. With him went Gloucestershire's best chance of staving off defeat.

Leach took the new ball soon afterwards and quickly accounted for the unfortunate Gareth Roderick, who offered no shot to a ball which appeared to be going high. Set to join the Worcestershire staff next season, Roderick beat a diplomatic retreat having contributed a modest 9.

When debutant Tom Price departed in identical fashion, pinned in his crease by Leach, Gloucestershire were 236 for 8 - just 75 in front - and deep in trouble. Worse followed, Jack Taylor offering a catch behind on 23 as the irrepressible Leach made it three wickets in as many overs. Matt Taylor and David Payne hit out in a breezy last-wicket partnership of 31 to hold up the visitors, but their resistance was summarily ended when Leach uprooted the latter's off stump.

If Leach's new-ball heroics caught the eye, it was fellow seamers Tongue and Charlie Morris who laid the foundations for victory, these two taking six wickets apiece in the match.