IT was a testing afternoon for Worcestershire’s bowlers on the opening day of their County Championship match with Durham at New Road.

A ton from opener Sean Dickson (104 from 184) and half centuries from Keegan Peterson, Scott Borthwick and David Bedingham guided the visitors to a score of 323/3 at the time of print.

Ed Barnard removed Alex Lees in the 18th over but a 123-run partnership between Dickson and Peterson proved a tough nut to crack before Ben Gibbon picked up his first senior wicket for the club to remove Peterson shortly before tea. 

Barnard ended Dickson’s classy innings in the 67th over but a rapid half-century from Scott Borthwick (76*) and an equally speedy 52 not-out from David Bedingham in the evening session put the visitors in the driving seat.
Durham won the toss and decided to bat, with openers Alex Lees and Sean Dickson coming to the crease. 

Both made steady progress and were proving hard to beat as both settled into a decent rhythm.

It took until the 18th over for the home side to make the breakthrough as Ed Barnard bowled opener Alex Lees for 27. 

But a 123-run partnership between the South African pair of Sean Dickson and Keegan Peterson helped Durham to 178-1.

Worcestershire did manage to finally break the second-wicket stand in the 54th over as Ben Gibbon picked up his first senior wicket for the club after Peterson edged one to Ben Cox.

Borthwick came in and wasted no time in picking up where Peterson left-off and reached 25 runs off just 39 balls before tea was taken at 208/2. 

The in-form Barnard provided some joy for those in attendance at New Road with the crucial wicket of Dickson but another century stand between Borthwick and a very watchable display from Bedingham kept Durham firmly in control at 323/3.