New Road (Day 2) Worcestershire 146 (D H Wigley 4-43, D S Lucas 4-49) v Northamptonshire 153-6 (R A White 58)
He may have made a pleasing return to the first team on Thursday, but Matt Mason has emerged as a leading candidate to join Worcestershire’s coaching staff.
The 34-year-old seamer has spent much of the past two years on the sidelines due to a succession of injuries. During that time he has been forced to consider alternative career and has become a Level Two qualified coach.
Though he is keen to extend his playing career for another couple of years, it may well be that he is persuaded to fulfil a combined role of player/bowling coach next year. The club currently employ only two full-time coaches (Steve Rhodes and Damian D’Oliveira) and do not have a specialist bowling coach. Mason is out of contract in September.
“We’re one of just a couple of counties with only two full time coaches,” Worcestershire chief executive Mark Newton said, “and the ones we have are being run ragged. We’re looking for someone to work across the teams and age groups.
“No negotiations have taken place as yet but Matt has a long-term future at the county. [ECB staff bowling coach] Kevin Shine thinks he has a real future as a bowling coach and, once he gets his qualifications he’ll be used.”
Asked whether Worcestershire could afford an addition to the coaching staff, Newton replied: “We’re one of the smallest counties - probably the smallest. We made about £104,000 net from Twenty20 Cup ticket sales while at least one other county [Surrey] made over £1million. Yet we still compete as a business and on the pitch.”
Worcestershire are also looking at ways to improve facilities for their players. The absence of an indoor school was described by Newton as “a major issue and one that is growing all the time.” However, he said it was an issue they were “going to solve.”
Neither Mason or any of his colleagues were able to impress at New Road on Friday. Only 26 deliveries were bowled before rain forced the abandonment of the second day’s play with Northants scoring 19 runs.
The visitors will resume on Saturday with a lead of seven runs and four wickets in hand.
The club also confirmed that Jack Manuel, the young batsman who is making a fine impression with Tamworth CC, has signed his scholarship deal that will keep him at the club until the end of 2010.