Napier in the wickets for Essex as D’Oliveira hits maiden Worcestershire hundred

Graham Napier

Graham Napier - Credit: Su Anderson

Brett D’Oliveira scored his maiden hundred in the Specsavers County Championship - the third generation of his family to achieve the feat - on day three of the Division Two clash leaders Essex at New Road.

D’Oliveira followed in the footsteps of grandfather Basil and his late father Damian as he reached the milestone between lunch and tea from 134 balls with 16 fours.

The 24-year-old looked up to the heavens before raising his bat towards his team-mates on the balcony after a cover drive for two off Graham Napier took him to three figures.

Basil had also registered his first Championship hundred for the County against Essex - at New Road in May 1965 while Damian’s first ton in the competition came against Middlesex in June 1983 at the same venue.

Brett was thrust into the openers role for the final four Championship matches of last season in place of Richard Oliver and made several promising 30s and 40s.


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But this was actually the first time he had even passed 50 in the Championship although he scored 122 in the first class match with Oxford MCCU in The Parks earlier in the season.

He was eventually fourth out at 228 - caught at short mid wicket by Jesse Ryder off David Masters - for a career best 128.

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D’Oliveira’s efforts spearheaded an initial strong response from the home side after Essex had declared at 451-9 on the stroke of lunch.

He was given excellent support in an opening partnership of 179 in 46 overs with skipper Daryl Mitchell on a still good batting pitch.

Mitchell had one escape, dropped on nine at second slip by Tom Westley off Jamie Porter - but he grew in confidence.

The opening pair took toll of some loose bowling to such an extent that 20 boundaries came in the first 25 overs of the innings.

But Essex then showed their mettle as five wickets went down for 43 runs.

Napier bowled Mitchell (66) and had Moeen Ali (8) caught behind before Joe Clarke (2) fell to Alastair Cook at first slip off David Masters.

D’Oliveira reined himself during the final session before he eventually perished with eight overs remaining and then Napier had Ross Whiteley lbw for a duck as Worcestershire closed on 226-5 off 72overs

In the morning session Worcestershire vice-captain Joe Leach claimed four wickets in 23 balls but Essex still claimed maximum batting points.

Leach made full use of the second new ball in dismissing Ravi Bopara (48), Daniel Lawrence (0), Ryder (0) and England Test captain Cook for a fine 142 after Essex had resumed on 335-2 from 90 overs.

Leach produced a superb one-handed return catch to account for Cook who struck one six and 22 fours in his 284 ball innings - his third Championship hundred of the campaign.

But Ryan ten Doeschate and James Foster ensured the current Division Two leaders reached 400 in the 109th over and five batting points via a stand of 73 in 10 overs.

Foster reached a 42-ball half century with two sixes and five fours and finished undefeated on 51.

There was just time for Leach to return and claim his fifth wicket before Essex declared on 451-9 from 113.4 overs. Leach finished with 5-115 from 27.4 overs

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