Daryl Mitchell ended his 17 seasons as a Worcestershire CCC player on a winning note with Joe Leach, who is standing down as Club Captain, playing a major role in the ten wicket win over Leicestershire in the LV=Insurance County Championship at New Road.
Mitchell was presented with prints marking his achievement at New Road by Club Chairman Fanos Hira, and Club President Cynthia Crawford, during the lunch interval on the third day and warmly applauded by his teammates and supporters.
By then, Worcestershire were already ready well on the way to their second victory in the second phase of the competition, thanks to a deadly three-wicket burst by Leach.
It helped reduce Leicestershire to 35-4 by lunch after Worcestershire had extended their overnight total from 378-6 to 422 all-out – an overall advantage of 200.
Resistance came from former Worcestershire player, George Rhodes who hit a career-best 90 as Leicestershire avoided an innings defeat.
But Worcestershire only required 12 for victory, and Mitchell was applauded all the way to the wicket by spectators, players and umpires.
He collected two boundaries in the opening over from Chris Wright before Jake Libby hit the winning runs.
Worcestershire topped 400 in the first innings of a game and the fourth time at New Road, and seven players scored between 35 and 77 in a real consistent batting effort.
It followed scores of 475 versus Essex at Chelmsford, 436 against Nottinghamshire at New Road, 421 versus Derbyshire at New Road and 447-9 declared against Warwickshire at New Road.
Worcestershire had added eight runs this morning under cloudy skies when Ed Barnard (48) went back to Chris Wright and nicked it through to keeper Sam Bates.
The stand with Ben Cox was worth 116 off 31 overs.
Leach got off the mark with a back foot cover drive for four off Wright.
Cox advanced from his overnight 52 to 59 but then went for a firm drive against Abidine Sakande and was also caught behind.
Leach (12) brought up the 400 in the 114th over with a boundary backward of square off Sakande but was caught at mid-on against the same bowler after aiming a big hit back down the ground.
The innings was wrapped up when Josh Baker (3) aimed a blow on the leg side but top-edged a catch to George Rhodes at cover to leave Dillon Pennington unbeaten on 10.
Wright finished with 3-97 – one short of 50 wickets for the campaign – Sakande 3-66 and acting captain Callum Parkinson 3-70.
Leach quickly made inroads into the Leicestershire batting line-up with a deadly opening burst just as the sun burst through the clouds.
He continued the superb form shown in recent weeks with 3-9 from his opening four overs.
Rishi Patel had failed to trouble the scorers when he shouldered arms to a delivery that nipped back in and was bowled.
George Rhodes began positively and collected a trio of boundaries through the covers in Pennington’s first over.
But then Hassan Azad (4) went for a cut in Leach’s second over and feathered through to Cox.
It became 28-3 when Lewis Hill (2) took a stride down the pitch to Leach but edged a low and straightforward catch to Jack Haynes at first slip.
Charlie Morris, who scored his maiden Championship fifty yesterday, came into the attack for Pennington and struck with the final ball before lunch.
Louis Kimber (4) could not keep down a ball angled in, and Barnard showed a safe pair of hands at third slip.
Leach had figures of 6-3-10-3 at lunch which was taken with the score 35-4 off 11.1 overs.
Rhodes and Mike opted for a positive approach after lunch, and the latter pulled Pennington for his 10th four to complete a 63 ball half-century.
A cut to the boundary off Baker took Rhodes to his fifty from 103 deliveries with eight fours and a six.
The stand was worth 88, but then Barnard struck twice in three overs.
Mike (58) was lbw after attempting to work to leg, and Sam Bates (6) nicked a ball angled across him and Haynes at first slip held the chance low to his right.
Rhodes achieved a new career-best score after surpassing his unbeaten 61 against Northamptonshire when on loan to Leicestershire from New Road.
But Baker was rewarded with the last ball before tea when Ed Barnes (5) pushed forward and was bowled.
Rhodes continued to provide stubborn resistance and acting Leicestershire captain, Callum Parkinson, required 45 balls to get off the mark.
But Pennington wrapped up the innings with Parkinson, on 21, and Sakande, four, both caught at third slip and in between, Rhodes nicked through to Cox.