County Championship: Worcestershire chase 401 to beat Northants
|Specsavers County Championship Division Two, New Road, day four|
|Northamptonshire 551 & 50-1 dec: Newton 27*|
|Worcestershire 201-3 dec: Mitchell 107* & 404-8: Clarke 125, Mitchell 103|
|Worcestershire (19 pts) beat Northants (5 pts) by two wickets|
Daryl Mitchell and Joe Clarke scored centuries as Worcestershire chased 401 to beat Northants by two wickets.
It was the second highest run chase in Worcestershire's history, beaten only by the 449-9 they made to beat Somerset in 1996, but their best at New Road.
After the hosts declared on 201-3, Northants made 50-1 to set the target.
Mitchell (103) and Clarke (125) put on 232 for the third wicket to get on course before Joe Leach won it with a six with one over to spare, on 404-8.
Captains Mitchell and Alex Wakely set up a fascinating final day with a pair of declarations, to set the home side the target of the win they needed to keep them in sight of Division Two leaders Essex, who are 35 points clear of third-placed Worcestershire going into next Wednesday's meeting at Chelmsford.
Northants struck twice early on in Worcestershire's second innings, with Brett D'Oliveira caught behind off Rory Kleinveldt, who then bowled Tom Fell shouldering arms.
Mitchell and Clarke batted beautifully to put Worcestershire firmly in the ascendency, although Ben Sanderson removed both as he struck three times in five deliveries after tea, before a barnstorming 78-run sixth-wicket partnership between Ben Cox and Ross Whiteley, who smashed 45 off just 30 balls.
When Whiteley was bowled by debutant Chad Barrett, the match looked to have swung once more back in favour of the visiting side but vice-captain Leach's unbeaten 33 ensured a victorious end for the hosts.
Mitchell's second century of the match also took the home-grown Worcestershire captain past the landmark of 10,000 first-class runs.
Worcestershire director of cricket Steve Rhodes told BBC Hereford & Worcester:
"This club has got a wonderful history of terrific batsmen. Daryl will look back on this achievement and be very proud.
"It's been a tough old season for him. His run tally was down on what he would have wanted.
"For him to score so well in this game is absolutely brilliant. Hopefully he'll crack on and score a lot more."
Northants head coach David Ripley told BBC Radio Northampton:
"As a collective, we always thought it was better to try and win the game and not just all clear off early.
"Once the negotiations were done, I thought that was a little bit in our favour. But it was a very good pitch.
"It proved to be a very good game of cricket with all results possible with two overs to go. You have to say the crowd got their money's worth."