Worcestershire beat Gloucestershire by 58 runs
Matt Mason's career-best eight for 45 powered promotion-chasing Worcester-shire to a tremendous 58-run win over Gloucestershire in an absorbing climax to their County Championship Division Two match at New Road yesterday.
"To get that is amazing, it's not really sunk in yet," said the burly 32-year-old after demolishing shell-shocked Gloucestershire in spectacular style.
Jon Lewis' team, facing a victory target of 228, resumed on 68 for one and were ripped out for 169.
Mason, who previous best haul was six for 68 in a home match against Durham in 2003, said: "It's always good to beat these guys because we have got a bit of a thing with Gloucestershire as it's been 20 years since they have beaten Worcestershire in the Championship at New Road. And they've managed to miss out again! That makes it an extra special victory.
"We were up against it for most of the game, so to come out on top was brilliant. We were always going to stick to the plans we had. We knew the wicket would be pretty helpful if we bowled in the right areas and made the batsmen play. That's what we all did. We bowled in partner-ships and the rewards finally came."
Mason, who has had his problems this season with a nagging shoulder injury, added: "It was a frustrating start to the year for me not playing a lot, so to finally get some real nice rhythm and just to come on and bowl and take wickets was fantastic.
"I've not bowled better than that in recent memory. It's been a long time coming to get back to what I think is how I can bowl."
Second-in-the-table Worcestershire, who have beaten Gloucestershire in their last eight Championship visits to New Road, made the perfect start when Indian paceman Zaheer Khan, with the second ball of the day, took his 55th Division Two wicket of the season.
His inswinging yorker accounted for New Road old boy Phil Weston and paved the way for magical Mason to capture four for 23 in 11.1 overs during the morning followed by four for six in 3.2 dramatic overs after lunch.
Included in his bag of morning victims was former Worcestershire batsman Kadeer Ali for eight and Gloucestershire's first-innings century-maker Hamish Marshall for 20.
Kadeer was removed by a catch behind by Steve Davies after a snorting delivery by Mason who dismissed Marshall lbw with a ball which kept low and pinned him on the back foot.
Another ex-New Road campaigner, Steve Adshead, escaped Mason's clutches by scoring an unbeaten 22 but it was far too little to prevent Vikram Solanki's rampant team from notching their fourth Championship triumph on the trot. The last time they did that was during their 2003 promotion season.
Yesterday's terrific performance allayed any fears supporters may have had that the recent interruption in the Championship programme to accommodate the Twenty20 Cup would damage Worcestershire's momentum.
Perhaps more significantly, they roared to their fifth Division Two win of the summer without star batsman Phil Jaques, who has scored more than 900 Championship runs in 11 innings this season. He is back home in Australia taking part in their Top End Series and will be unavailable for the match against Derbyshire, starting at Chesterfield on Wednesday. His next appearance is due to be versus Glamorgan at Colwyn Bay from August 2.