Tom Price scored his maiden first-class century and took four wickets that included an incredible hat-trick to put Gloucestershire in control on day one of the County Championship match at Worcestershire.
Gloucestershire collapsed to 45 for seven when 23-year-old Price came in at number nine, but he counter-attacked to 109 from 98 balls to push his side to 231 all out. He then got to work with the ball, taking three wickets in consecutive deliveries, including Worcestershire’s captain Brett D’Oliveira for a first-ball duck.
Worcestershire were 58 without loss before Ajeet Dale trapped Jake Libby lbw and Price took the second hat-trick of his career in the next over to leave the home side 59 for four. Six overs later, he’d removed Ed Pollock for his fourth wicket, all caught behind by wicketkeeper James Bracey and Dale took another two late on to put Worcestershire 118 for seven at the close of play, trailing by 113 runs in the first innings.
Gloucestershire got off to the worst possible start after winning the toss and electing to bat, Chris Dent and Bracey both falling for nought in the second over before Miles Hammond (four) and Marcus Harris (one), who has just been called up to Australia’s Test squad, fell cheaply to leave the newly relegated side eight for four inside seven overs.
Price’s brother, Ollie (11), captain Graeme van Buuren (14) and Jack Taylor (10) went next and brought bowling all-rounder, Tom Price to the crease before lunch and inside 22 overs. He steadied the ship alongside Zafar Gohar (22) before taking on a tiring Worcestershire attack to hit 4-4-6 off successive been Gibbon delivers to reach his half-century alongside Marchant de Lange who smashed three sixes to make 22.
Price was on 52 before going berserk when last man Dale came out to bat, passing his previous best score of 71 not out and reaching a debut first-class century in 93 balls. The final wicket stand of 81 finally came to a close when Price was run out after Matthew Waite deflected a Dale drive onto the stumps at the non-striker’s end.
Worcestershire began their reply untroubled, Libby and Pollock reaching a fifty stand inside 15 overs but a crazy eight-ball period brought four wickets, with Libby departing off Dale before Price had Azhar Ali caught behind for a fourth ball duck. Jack Haynes was out first ball to the same result to bring skipper D’Oliveira to the crease. He too succumbed and Price wheeled away in celebration as Bracey took another.
Price got opener Pollock for a hard-fought 34, Bracey taking his fourth catch off the Academy graduate’s bowling and Dale got Ben Cox (15) and Joe Leach (one) to finish the day with 3-23 and ensured Worcestershire will have to battle on day two not to reach parity before the second innings.
Days of cricket don’t get better than scoring a century or taking a hat-trick, especially in a pressured match situation following the crumbling of your top-order batters. To achieve both in one day of cricket is unheard of and the sport today belongs to Gloucestershire’s Tom Price.