Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting WN NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Silver anniversary of County’s golden era
10:30am Thursday 19th September 2013 in Sport
MONDAY marked the 25th anniversary of Phil Neale’s all-star Worcestershire side clinching the County Championship title.
Back then in 1988, the New Road outfit boasted a side featuring the likes of the late Graham Dilley, Phil Newport, Neal Radford, Richard Illingworth, Tim Curtis and also a young Graeme Hick.
Fast forward a quarter of a century and the fortunes of the current side are vastly different as the curtain prepares to come down on the 2013 season with Worcestershire languishing in mid-table of the second tier of the Championship, having also produced lack-lustre one-day campaigns.
However, back then in one of the golden eras of Worcestershire cricket, Neale was celebrating leading his side to the title and would go on to repeat the feat the following season.
The wicketkeeper in that all-conquering side was Steve Rhodes, the current incumbent of the director of cricket’s office, and what he would no doubt give to have the likes of his illustrious former team-mates to call upon nowadays.
To mark the 25-year anniversary of Worcestershire’s heady summer of 1988, here is former Worcester Evening News cricket writer Chris Oldnall’s match report from the day the County clinched their title.
PHIL Newport sparked off Worcestershire’s County Championship title-winning celebrations with a deadly bowling spell which sent Glamorgan plunging to an innings and 76-run defeat at New Road.
The England paceman grabbed 5-23 as bottom-of-the-table Glamorgan were ripped apart for just 103.
It was a lethal performance and a marvellous way for Worcestershire to wrap up their first Championship title triumph since 1974.
The day got off to a dramatic start with an hour’s delay because of a vandalised pitch, but once the action got underway the County roared on towards a triumphant climax.
They began 136 runs ahead on 380-6 and were finally all out for 423 with Steve Rhodes and Newport successfully topping up the tally with 46 and 30 respectively.
With the scent of victory in the air, Worcestershire — and Newport in particular — rapidly began to tear into the Glamorgan batsmen.
Only Geoff Holmes (33) showed any real resistence before he eventually became one of Newport’s scalps which took his First-Class tally for Worcestershire for the season to an impressive 86.
In 26 balls, Newport took five wickets for just two runs as the County stormed along the road to glory.
Newport said: “Winning the Championship means a lot more than the one-day trophies because you have to play well all the season.
“This means as much to me as playing for England in a Test Match. It’s been a great day for Worcestershire.”
Two wickets each for Graham Dilley and Richard Illingworth helped hasten Glamorgan’s decline before the champagne corks popped to signal Worcestershire’s fourth Championship title victory. The others were in 1964, 1965 and 1974.
The County’s next target is to win the Refuge Assurance Cup tomorrow when they meet Lancashire in the final at Edgbaston.
Comments are closed on this article.