Rain forces a draw at Northampton
Northamptonshire 385 for 9 dec and forfeit drew with Worcestershire 45 for 0 dec and 182 for 6
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 County Championship 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 6 despite Moeen Ali's 62 before heavy downpours saved them from defeat. With Northants declaring on 385 for 9 at the close on Friday, 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 part-time 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 the bowling of Jack Brooks in the fourth over. Wheeldon (7) then edged Lee Daggett to Northants captain Hall at first slip to leave the visitors struggling on 21 for 2.
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 Zimbabwe's Elton Chigumbura. But the fourth-wicket partnership of Ali and Holland international Alexei Kervezee revived their hopes either side of lunch, with the pair adding 117 runs.
Both struck half-centuries with Ali reaching his first off 102 balls and Kervezee following suit off just 63 balls. But he added just two more before smashing James Middlebrook to Peters at short mid-wicket and Ali went in the following over when he edged Hall to Northants wicketkeeper David Murphy to swing the match back the hosts' way.
Hall struck again in his next over when he trapped James Cameron lbw, the batsman going for a four-ball duck. Heavy rain then began to fall for a prolonged period leading to the two teams taking an early tea.
The shower passed and the sun emerged briefly but the heavens opened again soon after, forcing the umpires to admit defeat and call it a day.