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Last Updated: Saturday, 23 September 2006, 16:45 GMT 17:45 UK
Promotion joy for Worcestershire
County Championship D2, Northampton, day four: Worcestershire 281 & 205-5 beat Northants 342 & 143 by five wickets
Points: Worcs 19, Northants 6

G Batty
Batty took 4-43 and hit a vital 25 not out in Worcestershire's win

An improbable final-day victory for Worcestershire over Northants sealed promotion to Division One at the expense of Essex, beaten at Leicester.

After the whole of the third day was washed out at Wantage Road, the last day began with Northants on 24-0 in their second innings, leading by 58.

Northants motored to 100-1 after an hour's play but Worcestershire's spinners forced a dramatic collapse.

Northants were 143 all out, the Pears chasing 205 for a five-wicket win.

The wicket of Usman Afzaal - caught by Graeme Hick at slip for 51 off Ray Price - changed everything.The Northants innings went into freefall.

It was soon 114-6 as the middle order was ripped asunder, Price and his fellow spinner Gareth Batty each taking four wickets.

Ben Phillips hit 14, but ended up with no partners as the lower order was similarly confused by the spinners.

Price was unable to complete the first over after lunch, but Vikram Solanki stepped in and had number 11 Jason Brown caught third ball.

Worcestershire were left to chase 205 in what remained of the match, and suddenly it was game on - though Essex fans at this point would have hoped Monty Panesar could do enough to force a Northants win.

Panesar did his bit, taking 5-76 to finish with 10 in the match.

But no other Northants bowler took a wicket, with the other spinner, Brown, sending down 20 wicketless overs.

Solanki and Stephen Moore put on 69 for the second wicket and even when Solanki was out, having faced just 43 balls, at 114-2 the visitors were still well placed.

Panesar sparked a hiccup though, to make it 157-5 as the Worcestershire dressing-room was forced to sweat out the final session.

They need not have panicked, though.

Hick played camly to finish on 30 and Batty was 25 not out when the winning runs came.

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