Hampshire defeated Worcestershire by four wickets
Worcestershire's hopes of avoiding relegation in the totesport League Division One suffered a major setback when they slumped to a fourwicket defeat against Hampshire in yesterday ' s rain-reduced clash at New Road.
In a match restricted to 34 overs- a- side Hampshire reached their victory target of 186 with four balls to spare thanks to a splendid century stand for the third wicket between John Crawley and Shane Watson.
They put on 101 in 18 overs with both batsmen scoring 65. Watson collected one six and six fours while Crawley notched nine fours in his highest league score of the season.
Despite paceman Kabir Ali taking three for 42, it proved just too much for disappointed Worcestershire, whose head coach Steve Rhodes said: "All defeats leave a bitter taste as this one has. It's always a dog-fight when you are in a relegation battle.
"Sometimes you see the character of the players that respond strongly to this kind of defeat. I think the important thing for us is to approach every single game we have got left in an attempt to win them. It's as simple as that and we have the ability to do it. We can win five out of five easily."
Bottom-of-the-table Worcestershire, having won the toss, scored 185 for seven after making a flying start through Stephen Moore and Vikram Solanki. In the first four overs they plundered 37, Solanki boosting his tally with a hefty straight six off former New Road all-rounder Andy Bichel.
Hampshire, however, soon began to restrict the flow of runs with skipper Solanki being stopped in his tracks when he lifted a Dimitri Mascarenhas delivery to Shaun Udal at wide mid-off for 22.
He had put on 46 in eight overs with Moore whose next partner was Graeme Hick, returning to action after a back injury forced him to miss last week's run-glut when Worcestershire stacked up a record 696 for eight declared in their innings victory over Somerset in the County Championship Division Two.
It was not long, however, before Hick lost the companionship of Moore who reached 34 before being caught at deep square leg by Kevin Latouf during a wicket maiden by Mascarenhas. Any hopes Hick had of hitting the heights ended when he was caught at long-on by Sean Irvine off spinner Udal for 33.
Former captain Ben Smith fell for six when he was trapped lbw while attempting to reserve sweep Udal.
Steven Davies, who cracked his maiden first-class century in the run-feast against Somerset, soon survived a difficult chance to Watson at short extra cover before Zander de Bruyn's final innings for Worcestershire ended when he was snapped up at deep midwicket by Jono McLean off Greg Lamb for 33. The allrounder jets out today in readiness for international duty with South Africa A.
Another McLean catch, this time off Bichel, accounted for David Leatherdale for seven before talented teenager Davies fell in the last over when caught at mid-wicket by Crawley off Chris Tremlett for a valuable 34.