Glamorgan 44 for 2 trail Worcestershire 205 (Hogan 4-53) by 161 runs
Michael Hogan and fit-again Timm van der Gugten established a position of strength with the ball for promotion-chasing Glamorgan on the opening day of the Specsavers County Championship match with Worcestershire at Blackfinch New Road.
Hogan remains a potent threat at the age of 38 and his return of 4 for 36 took his wicket tally for the campaign to 36 as Worcestershire were bowled out for 205 in 70 overs after an uncontested toss. It followed on from his 5 for 62 against the same opponents in the corresponding fixture at Cardiff in late June.
Van der Gugten had suffered a back injury in that game but marked his return with three wickets including the prized scalp of England allrounder Moeen Ali.
Only Daryl Mitchell, in his 200th first class game for Worcestershire, Riki Wessels, with a expansive 45, and Ed Barnard offered much resistance in another below-par batting performance from the home side.
The inability of the top five to score consistently has been a prime reason for a disappointing red-ball campaign in contrast to Worcestershire’s success in the Vitality Blast in which they booked another spot at finals day on September 21. But Glamorgan’s focus is on achieving promotion for the first time since 2004.
Although Nick Selman and Tom Cullen departed cheaply, by the close West Indies batsman Kraigg Brathwaite had moved on to a patient 15 out of 44 for 2 on his Glamorgan debut.
Hogan made the first breakthrough of the day when bowling Hamish Rutherford after beating his defensive push.
Moeen had scored a brilliant hundred against Sussex in Friday’s Blast quarter-final win at Hove. Here he managed only 18 before falling victim to van der Gugten after driving hard at the paceman and edging to Selman who held on to a low chance at third slip.
Mitchell needed 24 balls to get off the mark but looked solid in defence in batting through the morning session for an unbeaten 31. But the visitors’ attack turned the screw once Hogan had returned to dismiss Mitchell in the second over after the resumption.
He dabbed at a fine delivery and only succeeded in nicking through to keeper Chris Cooke to end his 103-ball knock of 36. Alex Milton provided Cooke with another catch off Lukas Carey and then Jack Haynes, who shouldered arms, and Ben Cox were both lbw to van der Gugten.
Wessels innings was a mixture of fine drives and fortuitous edges and always entertaining. He faced only 35 deliveries and struck eight fours before he drilled Rory Smith straight to mid-off.
Club captain Joe Leach went for an on drive against Smith and was leg before and Hogan accounted for tailenders Charlie Morris and Adam Finch to leave Barnard unbeaten on 29.
When Glamorgan replied, they also encountered some disciplined bowling with Selman falling at first slip off Morris and Cullen aiming a lavish drive at Barnard and being caught behind.