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9:20am Saturday 17th September 2011 in Daryl Mitchell
IT was an unbelievable feeling knowing that we will be playing LV= County Championship Division One cricket next season.
To stay in the top-flight was one of our major goals this campaign and to have actually done, so something that no Worcestershire team has achieved before, is an amazing accomplishment.
No-one really gave us a chance of staying up this season and then we went an lost our opening six matches.
Although we lost those games, we did manage to play some really good cricket and that is why we always believed we could actually do it.
But it wouldn’t have been Worcestershire had there not been a few scares along the way.
We should have secured our survival 24 hours earlier than we actually did at Durham, but we have done it. To be in the dressing room on Wednesday evening after we had found out that we were staying up was brilliant.
'There have been some unbelievable efforts from players along the way this season — none more so than Vikram Solanki, Gareth Andrew and of course Alan Richardson.'Worcestershire CCC captain Daryl Mitchell
I think at first it was probably more a feeling of relief and the journey back from Durham didn’t seem so long knowing that we could celebrate.
There have been some unbelievable efforts from players along the way this season — none more so than Vikram Solanki, Gareth Andrew and of course Alan Richardson.
All three of them have played in every match this season and that has been a major factor in their success.
Vik got his 1,000 runs, Gaz took 52 wickets and scored nearly 700 runs and big Al’s 73 wickets saw him the leading wicket-taker in the division.
We also saw five players come through the academy and made their debuts this season and that shows that the system is working.
We have also had some exceptional overseas players this season — Steve Rhodes’ recruitment has been second to none.
Damien Wright got things started for the first-half of the season, Shakib Al Hasan shone in the one match he played, Saeed Ajmal won us the game down at Horsham against Sussex and then Kemar Roach came in for the last four games and bowled with great pace.
When we got our first win against Nottinghamshire confidence really started to grow among the players and while we set a target of winning five matches — fortunately four was enough.
There are still things for us to work on over the winter and we will be back in training at the start of November. But before then the lads are going to enjoy this moment — they all deserve it. We’ll now have a bit of a holiday, then we’ll hit the gym to get ready to hit the ground running in six weeks time.
It has been an amazing season in the Championship and I hope that you have all enjoyed it as much as we have. Your support throughout the season has been appreciated by all the players and we’ll see you all back at New Road next year for another season in Division One.