Critchley and du Plooy put Derbyshire in control
A Matt Critchley century and 98 from Leus du Plooy put Derbyshire in a strong position after day one of the LV=Insurance County Championship match against Worcestershire at Derby.
Critchley followed his two half-centuries at Edgbaston last week with 109 as Derbyshire closed day one on 360 for 8 which also included an unbeaten 65 from Harvey Hosein and 50 by Billy Godleman.
Worcestershire spilled five catches but they fought back after tea with Ed Barnard and Alzarri Joseph both taking two wickets in two balls.
Their decision to put Derbyshire in on a green pitch looked a good one when they struck in the first over but poor bowling and dropped catches allowed the home side to prosper.
Dillon Pennington was the pick of the pace attack and Brett D’Oliveira’s leg spin demanded respect but Joseph struggled on his debut.
The West Indian fast bowler was wayward in his opening spell as du Plooy and Godleman rebuilt following the loss of Luis Reece who played across the line in Leach’s first over.
Pennington saw du Plooy missed low at fourth slip before he had scored and the South African edged the same bowler through the hands of third on 14.
Worcestershire were left to rue those lapses with du Plooy reaching fifty off 78 balls and Godleman accelerated after lunch until he edged Leach and Ben Cox took a fine diving catch.
When Pennington surprised Wayne Madsen with bounce and movement, Worcestershire were back in the game but inconsistent bowling allowed du Plooy and Critchley to restore Derbyshire’s initiative.
Du Plooy looked certain to celebrate a century until he missed a pull at D’Oliveira and was bowled through his legs but Hosein joined Critchley to take Derbyshire past 300.
Worcestershire’s frustration increased as Leach twice saw Hosein missed on 41 and 46 but Critchley did not offer a chance and deservedly reached his fourth first-class hundred off 137 balls by driving Leach for his tenth four.
He was lbw driving at Barnard who removed Anuj Dal first ball before Joseph had Fynn Hudson-Prentice caught behind and Michael Cohen lbw but it was still an excellent day for Derbyshire who were playing at home for the first time since September 2019 as their Incora County Ground headquarters was used as a bio-secure venue last season.