FIRST-TEAM coach Alex Gidman says Worcestershire will be “as prepared as we possibly can be for every game” during the 2019 season.

Gidman stressed the importance of consistency as the County look to try to regain their Specsavers County Championship Division One spot at the first attempt in addition to challenging for more white-ball glory.

The ex-Gloucestershire captain and assistant-bowling coach Alan Richardson hope to repeat the success in the four-day game they achieved last summer in the Vitality Blast.

They are also aware of being ready for a new-look start to the season with the Royal London One-Day Cup taking centre stage after an initial round of Championship cricket.

Gidman said: “The beauty of our Championship cricket is that the teams who get promoted deserve it over the course of the year.

“It is like winning the Premier League in football. You need to perform consistently over a season to stand a chance of success.

“Naturally, anyone would say getting off to a good start is going to help and the old adage of getting points on the board is no different in cricket. However, you can never predict what is going to happen in our game.

“This year is slightly different with the World Cup and the Ashes. I think we only play one Championship game and the university game before the Royal London One-Day Cup.

“It is going to be a bit of a tricky one because it won’t really feel as if the season has got going in terms of red-ball cricket until mid-end of May which is extremely late.

“All I can say is, and I mean this, is that we will practice and be as prepared as we possibly can be for every game of cricket, whether it is red ball or white ball, and we will be trying our utmost to compete and give ourselves a really good chance of achieving our goals.”

Gidman says the pre-season trip to Abu Dhabi will take on even more significance than usual given the weight of one-day cup fixtures so early in the campaign.

He said: “It really is important, even more so with the white-ball competition starting so early.

“If teams aren’t careful, one of our three competitions could be over before you shake a leg. If you don’t start that competition well, it could be finished and a third of your season could be gone before the end of April which is unheard of.

“It is going to be an important tour and we will make the most of it and use it the best that we can.”

Gidman is aware of the need to strike the balance between being the boss as first team coach, spending and enjoying time with the players and giving them their own space.

He said: “I started to learn that when I was captain (at Gloucestershire). You have to learn how to distance yourself when you are a captain.

“I actually think as a coach it is even more straightforward. I left being a player behind a while back now. I don’t miss playing at all. I’m now a coach and it is as simple as that.

“I think it is constantly an art keeping that distance and knowing when to. I will make mistakes but hopefully I will get it right most of the time.

“It is important you enjoy time with the lads but they also need space as do I, as does Alan as well, and I think we will get that right most of the time.”

Meanwhile, Adam Finch took two wickets as England Young Lions lost by eight wickets in the first Test to Bangladesh under 19s in Chittagong.

The Worcestershire paceman struck with the fifth ball of Bangladesh’s second innings when bowling opener Tanzid Hasan for nought.

Finch was given just the two overs as Bangladesh quickly reached their modest 40 target in the two-Test series opener.

He ended with figures of 1-6 and an overall match analysis of 22.3-6-63-2 in spin-friendly conditions.

Young Lions were bowled out for 152 in the second innings with Finch lasting 31 balls in his score of four.

Callum Ferguson was one of only four players to top the 400-run mark in the group stages of the Big Bash which was completed at the weekend.

The Worcestershire player amassed 442 runs from 14 innings for Sydney Thunder at an average of 34.00.

Only the Hobart Hurricanes duo of D’Arcy Short (602) and Matthew Wade (590) and Melbourne Stars’ Marcus Stoinis (476) scored more runs than Ferguson before the knockout stages get under way.

The 34-year-old, one of Rapids’ Vitality Blast heroes last summer, ended the competition with a string of consistent scores including 52, 113 not out, 28, 26 and 47.

Ferguson, who returns to Blackfinch New Road on May 1, struck 14 sixes in total and had an overall strike-rate of 134.75.

He finished nearly 100 runs ahead of the next most prolific Thunder batsman in Shane Watson (344).

Thunder eventually finished sixth in the eight-team competition, just one point behind fourth-placed Stars.

Ferguson and his team-mates were left to regret the floodlight failure in the abandoned away game with Brisbane Heat when they were strongly placed for victory.

Had that game reached its natural conclusion than a win for Thunder would have taken them through to the knockout stages on nett run-rate.

Ollie Westbury scored 121 on the opening day of Grafton United’s Auckland Premier Men’s Tom Hellaby Two-Day Championship clash at Birkenhead.

The County batsman struck 13 boundaries from 162 balls and shared in a third-wicket partnership of 101 in 332-9 declared.

Birkenhead reached 29-1 off 12 overs with the game to be concluded next weekend.

George Rhodes was in the Onslow side who closed out an innings and 55 run victory on day two of the Rothbury Premier Men’s Pearce and Hazlett Cup match with North City.

Former County coach David Houghton will be the guest speaker of Worcestershire Cricket Society at Tuesday’s evening in the Graeme Hick Pavilion (7.30pm).

He was at the helm for the County’s last Lord’s final triumph against Warwickshire in the NatWest Trophy 25 years ago.

Houghton, now head of cricket at Derbyshire, spent four years in charge at Blackfinch New Road.

He was a batsman-wicketkeeper for Zimbabwe and played Test and ODI cricket while at the County.

Houghton still holds the record for the most runs scored at Test match level — 1,464 at an average of 43.05 from 22 appearances — without registering a duck.

He scored a century on his debut against India in Harare in 1992 and hit the highest score by a Zimbabwean in Test cricket of 266 against Sri Lanka in 1994-1995.

In the 1987 World Cup Houghton scored 142 off 137 balls against New Zealand with six sixes and 13 fours.

Bulawayo-born Houghton also represented his country at hockey as a goalkeeper and rose to the rank of major in the Rhodesian army.

Non-society members can attend the evening for £5.