Rain hits Worcestershire's promotion chances
Sussex 225 for 7 v Worcestershire
Worcestershire's hopes of achieving promotion were left hanging by a thread after rain and a stubborn eighth-wicket stand frustrated them at New Road.
Only 14 overs were possible on the second day of their championship match with Sussex, during which time the visitors' extended their first innings by 34 runs without any further loss. Both Andrew Hodd and Will Beer drove pleasingly in taking their unbeaten partnership to 77. Beer has already achieved his highest first-class score, while Hodd passed 50 for just the second time in the championship season.
Realistically the hosts require a win from this match if they are to gain promotion. They went into the game nine points behind second-placed Glamorgan and, though Worcestershire picked up another couple of points on the first day, the lack of play at Cardiff and New Road has done them few favours.
If Worcestershire and Glamorgan finish level on points, it is Glamorgan who will be promoted. Not only have they currently won more games, they also won both matches between the two sides.
Worcestershire retain some hope, however. Sussex, who are already assured of promotion as Division Two champions, have expressed some willingness to 'make a game of it' over the last couple of days. They have nothing to lose and will be prepared to gamble in pursuit of another victory.
They are not at full strength, either. Missing Ed Joyce, Michael Yardy, Michael Thornely, Corey Collymore and Matt Prior, their batting, in particular, appears brittle. If the weather relents, Worcestershire may yet have a chance of snatching promotion.
Meanwhile, off the pitch, Sussex confirmed the signing of Amjad Khan on a three-year deal. The 29-year-old fast bowler, who represented England in a Test only 18-months ago, was unable to agree terms with his previous club, the cash-strapped Kent. Sussex have also submitted a 28-day approach for Worcestershire's 26-year-old all-rounder Gareth Andrew.
Worcestershire also hope to announce plans for the next stage of their ground development imminently. It is understood that the club have reached agreement with various partners to ensure that the £10 million hotel development will begin at the New Road end of the ground within weeks. The club, who will not be borrowing any money to finance the scheme, hope that revenue generated from the development will safeguard their financial future for years to come.
On a less positive note, it is understood that contract talks between the club and Moeen Ali, the 23-year-old England Lions all-rounder, have not gone well. Moeen is contracted until the end of 2011, but Worcestershire had hoped to secure his services on a longer-term deal.