Worcestershire took a massive step towards securing promotion as they completed a six wicket win over Leicestershire in the Specsavers County Championship clash at New Road today – and moving top of Division Two.
Skipper Joe Leach’s side were set a 132 target after eventually ending stiff Foxes resistance and bowling them out for 220.
Then Daryl Mitchell (34) and Joe Clarke (35) helped steer the County to victory on the cusp of tea and seal a maximum 24 points haul.
It was Worcestershire’s third win on the trot and moved them nine points clear of previous leaders Nottinghamshire, who have a game in hand, and well clear of fellow promotion candidates Northamptonshire and Sussex.
Worcestershire now have a 10 day break before their final game at home to Durham and their destiny remains in their own hands.
Worcestershire’s push for victory was held up by the eighth wicket pair of Lewis Hill and Zak Chappell on the final morning.
The Foxes began the day on 111-7 – just 22 ahead.
But Hill, who was 18 not out overnight, and new batsman Chappell had other ideas and counter-attacked to good effect during a stand of 103 in just 23 overs.
Chappell was the dominant partner and he straight drove Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin for six to reach his half century – which also contained seven fours – off just 63 balls.
Hill offered solid support and his fifty was completed off 96 deliveries with five boundaries.
Worcestershire brought the innings to an end with three wickets in four overs.
Chappell fell into the trap when he pulled a short ball from paceman Pat Brown to Brett D’Oliveira at mid on after making 66.
Brown struck again in his next over and Dieter Klein fell in similar fashion to Joe Clarke at mid wicket without troubling the scorers.
Ashwin then had Hill (60) caught by D’Oliveira on the deep square leg boundary – his third victim of the innings.
Worcestershire openers Daryl Mitchell and Brett D’Oliveira negotiated one over from Ben Raine in reaching 4-0 by lunch.
With the possibility of rain looming, the pair put on 40 in 10 overs before D’Oliveira went for an ambitious slog sweep and was bowled by spinner Callum Parkinson.
Mitchell (34) also fell to the spinner who claimed his 10th wicket of the game when the ball spun back onto his stumps.
Tom Fell looked in good nick and hit four boundaries before on 18 he was bowled by Ben Raine.
A 50 stand between Clarke (35) and George Rhodes took Worcestershire to the brink of victory before the former was lbw to Aadil Ali.