Rain scuppers Northants' ambitions
Two wickets from Northamptonshire captain Andrew Hall were not enough to secure victory against Worcestershire as yet more rain spoiled the final day of their LV= County Championship Division Two encounter at Wantage Road.
In an attempt to force what would have been a much-needed result, Worcestershire declared their first innings at 45 for nought after 31 balls of buffet bowling from Northants.
The hosts forfeited their second innings, giving the visitors a target of 341 and they were teetering on 182 for six despite Moeen Ali’s 62, before heavy downpours saved them from defeat.
With Northants declaring on 385 for nine at the close yesterday, the match looked destined to be a draw as Worcestershire were finally given a chance to bat.
The first part of the day saw a phoney war with the hosts using declaration bowlers, which allowed the away side to quickly plunder 45 without loss before declaring with their captain Daryl Mitchell and David Wheeldon unbeaten on 31 and 12 respectively.
Northants forfeited their second innings, which meant Worcestershire had a victory target of 341 with 88 overs remaining.
Their chase started badly when Mitchell, who scored just three, was caught by Stephen Peters at third slip off Jack Brooks in the fourth over.
Wheeldon then edged Lee Daggett to Northants captain Hall at first slip to leave the visitors struggling on 21 for two.
It went from bad to worse when Vikram Solanki, who on 27 was just threatening to get going, saw his off stump taken out by Elton Chigumbura with a ball that kept a tad low.
But the fourth-wicket partnership of Moeen and Netherlands batsman Alexei Kervezee revived their hopes either side of lunch, with the pair adding 117 runs.
Both struck half-centuries with Moeen reaching his first off 102 balls and Kervezee following suit off just 63 balls.
Kervezee he added just two more before smashing James Middlebrook to Peters at short midwicket and Moeen went in the following over when he edged Hall to wicketkeeper David Murphy to swing the match back the hosts’ way.
Hall struck again in his next over when he trapped James Cameron lbw for a four-ball duck.
Heavy rain then began to fall for a prolonged period leading to an early tea.
The shower passed and the sun emerged briefly but the heavens opened again soon after, forcing umpires Mark Benson and Nick Cook to admit defeat and call it a day.