YOUNG spinner Ben Twohig has been backed to continue his rise through the New Road ranks after being handed his first-team debut in the Pears’ drawn clash with Surrey at the Oval.
The young slow left armer received his cap from Worcestershire chief executive Matt Rawnsley – himself a slow left armer as a player at New Road – before the start of play and went onto bowl 13 overs for 33 runs in a series of short spells on day one.
After picking up the wicket of Stuart Meaker in Surrey’s first innings, Twohig added the scalp of Rory Burns to his tally for 30 in the second innings as both sides played out a draw on a balmy Bank Holiday Monday afternoon.
Spin coach and Pears legend Norman Gifford said Twohig’s first-team debut was well deserved after seeing the him make great strides forward in his development during the past few months.
It was a proud moment for Gifford who, along with Academy coach Elliot Wilson, has worked closely with Twohig in the past few years.
Gifford said: “I’m delighted for Ben. He has worked hard as always but really has come on this winter at Malvern College and also did well when he went to India for a couple of months.
“It takes time to develop as a spinner but he has the right personality and a good cricket brain which helps if you are a spinner – and can bat as well.
“He bowled well against Warwickshire in the Seconds – and also at the weekend for Kidderminster – and I’m delighted to see us have the option of being to play a slow left arm spinner.
“Ben will feel better for playing his first game and I think he has taken confidence from being in the first-team squad at the start of the season.
“It is a first step and hopefully things go well and we will see a lot more of him. I’ve worked with him a lot over the last few years but so has Elliot who has done a lot with him.
“When I heard Ben was playing I texted Elliot and said ‘at last!’ because we both have been waiting for him to play.”
Skipper Joe Leach said: “We laid the gauntlet down to Ben at the start of the year. We challenged him to challenge for a first-team spot and he has responded really well.
“He is full of character and, for his first day on a pitch that didn’t offer him much, I thought he was very impressive.
“Is he likely to get more games? If he carries on bowling like that, I don’t see why not.
“He can bat as well. He is an impressive young lad, as are a lot of the ones who come through our system. We hope he can keep progressing and turn into a fine cricketer.”