Worcestershire v Kent: Joe Clarke century earns Pears first-innings lead against Kent

Joe Clarke (left) and Joe Leach
Joe Clarke (left) and Joe Leach both made their best Championship score of the season
Specsavers County Championship Division Two, New Road (day two):
Kent 260 & 120-3: Denly 67*; Tongue 2-27
Worcestershire 336: Clarke 142, Leach 55, Rhodes 45; Coles 6-84
Worcestershire 6 pts, Kent 5 pts
Kent lead by 44 runs

Worcestershire youngster Joe Clarke made his first century of the season to help his side earn a 76-run first-innings lead against Kent.

After resuming on 34 from the overnight score of 95-3, Clarke was helped by George Rhodes (45) in a 131-run stand.

Backed by 57 not out from captain Joe Leach, he eventually finished on 142 out of the hosts' total of 336, paceman Matt Coles claiming 6-84.

Josh Tongue then took two wickets but Joe Denly helped Kent rally to 120-3.

From 64-3, Denly (67 not out) has so far put on 56 with Joe Weatherley (20 not out) to earn Kent a 44-run lead.

Weatherley's first target will be becoming the fourth Joe in this match to pass 50, following Clarke, Leach and Denly's earlier efforts.

Worcestershire batsman Joe Clarke told BBC Hereford & Worcester:

"It is a relief, if anything. I've struggled really. I've been wanting to get big scores all season and it hasn't quite happened for me.

"I've been getting starts and not being able to go on. I've felt in good nick all year. It's just been one of those things. I've kept getting to 20 and 30 and giving it away. It was nice to go on and get a hundred.

"There is a bit in the pitch with the new ball. There is carry in it for the bowlers. It's just once it get past 20 overs, it gets a bit slower and if you can get in, you can score runs."

Kent head coach Matt Walker told BBC Radio Kent:

"It is a better position than we were in about an hour before stumps. We fought pretty hard during the course of the day.

"As was the case in our innings there were patches when they scored quite freely and then us clawing it back and bowling in good patches and then wickets coming in a bit of a cluster.

"We didn't want to lose three wickets this evening. We hoped one, maybe a maximum of two, but the two Joes played really well at the end and stuck in."