CRICKET - Worcestershire draw with Kent as Holder bids farewell to Pears - The Worcester Observer

CRICKET - Worcestershire draw with Kent as Holder bids farewell to Pears

Worcester Editorial 15th May, 2024 Updated: 15th May, 2024   0

JASON Holder has a ‘new love’ for cricket after his time at Worcestershire came to an end following a County Championship draw with Kent.

The 32-year-old West Indies star brought an end to his five-game stint with the Pears by scoring an unbeaten century at the Spitfire Ground.

And Holder hopes to return to Worcestershire in the future so he can finally play at the club’s New Road home.

Holder said: “It has been unbelievable, a hell of an experience. I think the boys have been outstanding. I said to them they have given me a new love for cricket.

“It has been one of those stints where you get everything you want to achieve out of it.

“It is unfortunate we didn’t win a game and I was really looking forward to singing the team song but each and every game has shown glimpses that this team has something special about it.

“The boys are a hell of a bunch. I’ve enjoyed every single moment and I’ll definitely be back.

“I’ve been amazed about how tight one group can be and everyone plays for the right reasons.

“Everyone plays for the team. It is one big family, everyone is behind each other, no man is left alone and it is just one of those attitudes and environments you want to be in.

“You wake up and look forward every single morning to going in and being around these boys and that is something I haven’t had for a very long time.

“I thank Worcestershire for having me and hopefully I can be back and actually play a game at New Road.”

Worcestershire took to the field for the first time since the sad passing of Josh Baker and paid tribute to the spin bowler with a an emotional minute’s applause pre-match.

And the Pears posted a mammoth 618-7 declared in their first innings – their highest total for 18 years – as opener Gareth Roderick (117), Holder (123 not out) and Matthew Waite (100 not out) all scored centuries.

Holder reached his final total off just 110 balls while Adam Hose (90) and Kashif Ali (72) also impressed with the bat.

Worcestershire then bowled Kent out for 407 as Jack Leaning (179 not out) frustrated the Pears bowlers.

However, the visitors were able to enforce the follow-on as Joe Leach (3-37) and Waite (3-51) starred with the ball.

And the Pears restricted Kent to 146-4 in their second innings, with the home side still trailing by 65 runs, before play came to a close.

Pears head coach, Alan Richardson, said: “No one knew what quite to expect and certainly the minute’s applause was really difficult for the players and the staff.

“I look back now and was pretty proud of how we handled that. For Jake (Libby) and Gareth (Roderick) to go out and bat on that first day was an incredible effort.

“I always believe the togetherness of the squad will be one of our huge strengths throughout the season.

“Josh will always be very close to us and we will always be thinking of him and it was fantastic his dad and mum, Paul and Lisa, were here over the weekend and for us to spend a bit of time with them as well.

“It is one of those milestones since Josh’s passing that was always going to test us. I was incredibly proud of the boys and how they dealt with it and went about it.”

Worcestershire continue their County Championship campaign at defending champions Surrey from May 17 to 20 at the Kia Oval.

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