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Battling for survival
THE weather may have conspired against Worcestershire last week in Southampton, but their nearest and dearest did them a massive favour.
With Warwickshire, who I was told previous week were so poor that Yorkshire would fill their boots with points, crushing the White Rose county inside of three days, the New Road men climb out of the drop zone in LV= County Championship Division One with a rain-affected draw.
The seven precious points at the Rose Bowl put them two clear of Yorkshire and 22 ahead of Hampshire.
Yet although Sussex sit 19 clear of Worcestershire, the Hove men are by no means safe from an immediate return to Division Two.
With games against Durham and Nottinghamshire, not to mention the trip to New Road next month. It is hard to see where Sussex are going to pick up that one win that will almost certainly ensure there Division One survival.
Yorkshire, despite being mauled by a Bears’ team missing Chris Woakes last week, are facing a return clash with a Woakes’ led Warwickshire on Wednesday.
If Ashley Giles’ side can do that without their star all-rounder, just imagine what they will do with him in the XI.
Yorkshire then entertain Somerset at Headingley in their final match of the campaign.
Marcus Trescothick’s side are still in with a shout of securing the title, while Martyn Moxon’s men are without skipper Andrew Gale.
With so much on this encounter, I feel that Yorkshire may just prevail, as long as the weather doesn’t conspire against them.
Worcestershire face a title-chasing Lancashire at New Road on Wednesday and having come close up at Blackpool a couple of weeks ago, the addition of Kemar Roach and a home wicket to suit their fiery West Indies pace man, Steve Rhodes’ side can send the Red Rose men home with their tails between their legs.
Sussex will be hell bent on revenge when they visit County headquarters next month, but I think Worcestershire will complete the double over the team they were promoted with last term.
The County will need that win as well, because heading to Durham in the final match of the campaign is unlikely to yield them many points.
Hampshire, who face Somerset and Lancashire away before a visit from Warwickshire in their final three match, are cut adrift at the foot and I don’t think that they have enough to get themselves out of the trouble that they have been in all campaign.
But the one that may save or condemn the four teams in the battle for survival is the weather.
The draw at the Rose Bowl last week was Worcestershire’s first of the season and hopefully it won’t put a dampener on the remainder of the County’s campaign because they can complete mission impossible.
My predictions: Sussex v Durham (Durham win); Worcestershire v Lancashire (Worcestershire win); Warwickshire v Yorkshire (Warwickshire); Somerset v Hampshire (Somerset win); Worcestershire v Sussex (Worcestershire win); Yorkshire v Somerset (Yorkshire win); Lancashire v Hampshire (Lancashire win); Nottinghamshire v Sussex (Nottinghamshire win); Durham v Worcestershire (Durham win); Hampshire v Warwickshire (Warwickshire win). Relegated: Hampshire and Yorkshire.