Joe Leach was Division Two’s second-leading wicket-taker in 2017 with 69 – a new personal best

Worcestershire captain Joe Leach has signed a new three-year contract with the promoted club.

Leach has been rewarded for leading from the front with a career-best campaign haul of 69 wickets as he led the Pears to promotion from Division Two in his first season as skipper.

“Joe has been so consistent with the ball in Championship cricket,” said director of cricket Steve Rhodes.

“To secure him for the next three years sends a message to everyone.”

Worcestershire’s County Championship promotion was achieved despite the mid-season loss of Tom Kohler-Cadmore to Yorkshire.

But Rhodes, who has already added one player for next season with the return to New Road of Sussex’s Australian fast bowler Steve Magoffin, is pleased to have kept the bulk of their side together.

Leach follows the lead of fellow former Shropshire discovery Ed Barnard, opener Brett D’Oliveira, fast bowler Josh Tongue, batsmen Tom Fell and George Rhodes in signing a new contract – as well as youngsters George Scrimshaw, Ollie Westbury and Alex Milton.

“We’ve got a lot of our players who are now signed up,” added Rhodes. “A lot of people didn’t think we would be able to do that.

“The team and the dressing room are sticking together and they are signing longer deals. Hopefully that will be a really good thing in our plan to get to where we want to be.”

Leach defied injuries to lead Pears home

Leach made light of ankle and side strain injuries to play in all 14 Championship games for Worcestershire.

“It was an amazing effort to keep going,” said Rhodes. “His resilience to stay on the park is one of the big pluses about Joe. He tends to play that full season – and if you play that full season, you get that reward. He is one of our best players.

“Most bowlers are very rarely 100 per cent fit all the time and he fitted into that category more than others. But he managed his injuries really well which is something bowlers have to learn to do.

“Other people may well have sat on the sidelines and watched the game rather than played it, but Joe managed to get through all the games and was proud of doing that.”


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