Worcestershire promoted after win
Worcestershire pulled off a smash-and-grab four-wicket victory over Sussex at New Road and then had to wait for confirmation of their promotion to Division One of the LV= County Championship.
Century-makers James Cameron and Moeen Ali made light of their task in chasing an agreed target of 301 in 70 overs for their third win in the last four games, but celebrations were delayed for more than an hour until they heard that Glamorgan had failed to beat Derbyshire at Cardiff.
Cameron, making a maiden hundred in his first match as an opener, and Moeen hammered 215 in only 35.4 overs for the third wicket before Worcestershire wobbled on the finishing stretch.
Zimbabwe-born Cameron, who joined the county this season from grade cricket in Western Australia, had the confidence to go down the pitch to drive Monty Panesar for two of his three sixes.
He also hit 14 fours before he took one risk too many and was bowled for 105, attempting to slog-sweep the England bowler.
In a partnership of left-handers, Moeen survived more than one alarm, notably a top edge off Panesar which dropped between wicketkeeper and short-leg, but his stroke play was often eye-catching as he hit 20 fours and a maximum.
After facing 120 balls he skied a hook off Yasir Arafat and Worcestershire then lost Shakib Al Hasan and Gareth Andrew before Alexei Kervezee drove Panesar for six to take them over the line with 14.5 overs to spare.
Promotion completed a remarkable turnaround since they trailed Glamorgan by 37 points after losing to the Welsh county at Colwyn Bay last month. Vikram Solanki resigned after that match and passed the captaincy to Daryl Mitchell, who was unbeaten in his four matches at the helm.
The last-day set-up against Sussex did require a period of ugly cricket in which Luke Wright and Andrew Hodd were allowed to put on 115 in 9.2 overs before the visitors closed their second innings at 264 for four.
The overnight pair, Murray Goodwin and Ben Brown - who hit 63 and 37 respectively, took their partnership to 90 against a front-line attack and Wright was on 26 when the home side switched to their occasional bowlers.
With Kervezee conceding 63 from 4.3 overs in his first spell in the championship, Wright had carted nine fours and seven sixes in an unbeaten 94 from 56 balls when Goodwin made his declaration. Hodd was 39 not out.
Given that neither side had made 250 in their first innings, it was far from a gift when Sussex’s acting captain set Worcestershire the highest total of the match at more than four runs an over.
However, Sussex did not bowl well enough and Worcestershire enjoyed some luck in getting through the first hour for the loss of two wickets.
Panesar’s third ball trapped Mitchell lbw on the back pad, giving the left-arm spinner his 50th championship wicket in his first season with Sussex, and soon after lunch Arafat got one to lift as Solanki edged to second slip.