TALISMANIC seam bowler Alan Richardson has handed Worcestershire a timely boost by revealing he hopes to be fit in time for the LV= County Championship Division One visit of Somerset.
The West Country outfit visit New Road for a four-day game on May 30 and Richardson is optimistic about his chances of being involved, despite suffering a shoulder injury in the draw with Surrey.
The veteran seamer said: “It’s not as bad as we first thought — I’ve basically had a grade two tear, but I’ve already got a full range of movement back, which is a really good sign.
“We are optimistically looking at the Somerset game and it has fallen quite well in that there isn’t a Championship game next week.”
Meanwhile, it was honours even between Worcestershire and Sussex as the visitors closed day one of the Championship clash at New Road on 283-8.
Chris Nash (84) was out of the traps quickly as Sussex made batting look easy in cruising to lunch on 101-1.
However, the County then fought back with good spells of bowling from David Lucas, Jack Shantry and Gareth Andrew.
Making his first Championship appearance since undergoing knee surgery at the end of last season, Andrew, who managed 19 overs, three maidens, 1-41, struck in his 10th over back when he tempted Nash to edge to skipper Daryl Mitchell at second slip.
After an inauspicious morning spell, Lucas came back a different bowler after lunch and beat the bat with regularity.
The left-armer produced a lovely delivery that moved away from Murray Goodwin and trapped the veteran batsman for just one on the crease and reduce Sussex to 110-3.
Luke Wells and captain Michael Yardy then began to swing the balance of power back in the visitors’ favour and looked to be well settled as they took the score past 150.
However, just one ball after reaching that milestone left-armer Shantry, who was also making his first Championship appearance of the season in place of Richardson, pinned Yardy on the toe with a full delivery and umpire Peter Hartley eventually raised his finger.
Shantry continued his impressive spell to turn the tables on Sussex once more with two quick wickets, as he firstly trapped Luke Wells lbw for 39, before drawing a loose shot out of Joe Gatting, who picked out Matt Pardoe at cover-point for five to make it 167-6.
The see-saw nature of the day continued with the Hove outfit fighting back with an 84-run partnership between wicketkeeper Ben Brown (42), who came into the side for England’s Matt Prior, and Naveed Arif Gondal (46), before the pair fell in consecutive overs late in the day.