Friday, September 22nd, 2023


Worcestershire require a maximum of two more points to clinch promotion to Division One of the LV=Insurance County Championship after the final home game of the season with champions Durham ended in a draw.

They will head into their final fixture of the campaign against Yorkshire at Headingley  22 points ahead of nearest rivals Leicestershire, who visit Durham for their final match.

Worcestershire collected one bowling bonus point on the final day to give them a total of eight from the game.

On loan Essex all-rounder Ben Allison picked up two wickets as Durham, for whom captain Scott Borthwick scored a century, closed on 371-4 in reply to Worcestershire’s 313 all out.

The wash-out of Leicestershire’s game with Yorkshire at the Uptonsteel County Ground leaves them strong-placed to return to the top flight.

The fact Worcestershire will have won more games than their nearest rivals, whatever the outcome of the remaining matches, means a maximum of three (two) more points will suffice.

Worcestershire tested the formidable Durham batting line-up during the morning session, and Dillon Pennington and Joe Leach bowled well for no tangible reward, often beating the bat.

But they failed to hold onto a series of opportunities in the field, and Alex Lees, Borthwick and Ollie Robinson ensured Durham would secure a share of the spoils.

Durham resumed on 10-0, and Lees had a let-off in the opening over of the day from Leach when he survived a sharp chance to fourth slip.

But Worcestershire did make a breakthrough in the next over, although it was of Durham’s own making.

Lees played a delivery from Dillon Pennington firmly to cover, but Michael Jones came down the wicket looking for a quick single and was run out by Logan van Beek’s throw to Joe Leach at the non-striker’s end as he failed to regain his ground.

Lees, the leading run-scorer in Division Two, completed a 60-ball half-century with six fours.

The partnership was worth 77 when Allison trapped Lees (60) lbw after he attempted to work the ball to leg.

Rain brought about the early lunch, and when play resumed, new batter David Bedingham had a let-off on 10 when he was dropped at first slip off Pennington.

He made an uncertain start, and successive deliveries from Leach wide of third slip for boundaries and also a leading edge just escaped the clutches of bowler van Beek.

Borthwick on drove van Beek for his 10th boundary in reaching a 105-ball fifty, and his stand with Bedingham was worth 89 before Allison secured the first bowling point.

Bedingham (39) went to drive the all-rounder and was bowled at 181-3.  

Robinson had scored a magnificent 206 not out of 131 balls against Worcestershire for Kent in last season’s One Day Cup, and he immediately looked in excellent touch with a series of exquisite shots.

Borthwick needed 38 balls to move from fifty to his second Championship century of the season, and Robinson completed a 42-ball fifty.

But Kashif Ali broke a partnership of 159 with his maiden first class wicket as Robinson (84) was caught by Pennington at long on just before the heavens opened.