Warwickshire aim to put some daylight between themselves and the Division One relegation line by beating neighbours Worcestershire at New Road over the next four days.
The Bears enter the second half of their championship season still to record a win and uneasily placed just above the bottom two.
A visit to a Worcestershire side rock-bottom, and evidently doomed to immediate relegation back to the lower tier, appears to offer a good chance to achieve that belated first win.
Worcestershire have struggled badly this season after accompanying the Bears up last September. And, although it is far from out of the question that a visit from their old rivals could spark the stirrings of a revival from Vikram Solanki’s team, the Bears, even without Ashes participant Ian Bell, will fancy their chances of taking a big stride towards safety.
Captain Ian Westwood has detected signs of improvement in his inconsistent team in recent matches, although, most of all, he would just like the rain to stay away for a few days so the Bears can get in a proper game after a string of rain-ruined draws.
“We have batted solidly all season,” Westwood said. “In several games this year we have been put in and still totalled 400-plus.
“And our bowling is getting better, even without an overseas player at the moment. We still have that boost to come. We just need that bit of luck but, most importantly, a full game and then we can gauge where we are.
“It is difficult to judge our progress really because of all the rain. Most of the time, all that has been left in games is a battle for bonus points.
“We have seen so many games and particularly first days washed out it has been massively frustrating. But I don’t think we are far away from where we want to be. There have been signs of improvement in recent games.
“It’s a bit harsh to make too much of us not having won a championship match as we have lost most of the season to the weather. We came close at home to Hampshire but, apart from that, there haven’t been any opportunities. We have also only lost one game, and that was to the probable eventual champions.”
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