AS Worcestershire toiled on the third day of their LV= County Championship Division One relegation battle with Sussex at New Road there was at least some good news reaching them.
Fellow strugglers Yorkshire, in their final match of the season, failed in their attempt to secure a single batting point against Somerset.
While that may seem insignificant to some, Worcestershire now need only one more point, either from this match or at Durham next week, to ensure that they will not finish bottom of the top-flight pile.
That is not the aim for the New Road side, they don’t want to be in the bottom two come next Thursday because, if they are, they will be heading back to Division Two as they aim to beat Hampshire for survival.
Yorkshire, are of course, not relegated yet, but the chances of them plying their trade in the first division next term is about as likely as Worcester Cathedral no longer overlooking the New Road.
Worcestershire could have condemned the White Rose county to the second division yesterday had they managed to total 250 runs and secure a second batting point.
However, Sussex, who themselves are battling to avoid the drop, required just 43 balls to wrap up the County’s first innings.
Resuming the day on 199-7, the New Road side, trailing by 176 runs, were focused on trying to reach 226 and avoid the follow-on.
But after securing their one and only batting point, Richard Jones was trapped lbw without scoring by Amjad Khan to leave the hosts 200-8.
Alexei Kervezee remained the key for Worces-tershire ensuring that Sussex would bat again but a rush of blood to the Dutch international’s head saw him horribly misplace a straight drive over Monty Panesar’s head into the sky and allow Khan to take a simple catch at extra-cover and give the former England spinner his fifth wicket of the innings.
With the 21-year-old gone for 69 and the County 220-9 it didn’t take long for Khan to see off Alan Richardson, bowled for one, as Worcestershire were all out for 222.
With a lead of 153, the visitors surprisingly opted against enforcing the follow-on and lost opener Chris Nash in the sixth over as he nicked Richardson to Ben Scott for 26.
Ed Joyce and Joe Gatting both hit half-centuries in their 120-run second wicket stand before the former pulled Jones down the throat of James Cameron, who made no mistake after his first innings blunder, and calmly held on to dismiss the Ireland international for 60.
But Gatting went on to record his maiden Championship ton in the final session of the day as Sussex closed on 267-4, increasing their lead to 420.