Worcestershire: Steve Rhodes relieved with important Championship win over Kent

Steve Rhodes and Moeen Ali
Steve Rhodes can call on Moeen Ali for next week's day/nighter against Durham - for only the 10th time in the Championship since he became an England regular in 2015

Worcestershire director of cricket Steve Rhodes admits his side could not have picked a better game to rediscover their winning habit than by beating Division Two promotion rivals Kent.

The four-wicket win, achieved by their third-ever biggest run chase as they piled up 401-6 on the final day, lifted them above Kent into second place.

But it also ended an untimely hiccup after their winning start to 2017.

"At one stage we were winning all the time and that doesn't last," he said.

"But we are mature enough to understand that we were not going to go through seasons in the vein that we were doing.

"We did have a couple of tough games in the Championship (against Sussex and Glamorgan), albeit games where we played well in spells.

"But we just came up against some good teams who at times played better than us. Then no-one wants to lose in a semi-final."

Worcestershire went into Monday's four-day game with second-placed Kent less than 48 hours after being hammered by Gareth Batty's Surrey in the One-Day Cup semi-final.

Coming off two Championship defeats and the jolt of Tom Kohler-Cadmore's perhaps unnecessarily abrupt departure to Yorkshire, there was concern that Worcestershire's season was about to fall apart.

"To get back on the right tracks with a victory here was really important," added Rhodes. "There has been a lot of talk of the team on a high, but then on a slide.

"Hopefully this will just show people we are very determined to make sure we see the season through."

From agony to ecstasy

  • In 54 years of List A cricket, Worcestershire have only once been on the wrong end of a bigger total than Surrey's 363-7 in last Saturday's One-Day Cup semi-final. That was when Sussex ran up 399 in a 40-over league game at Horsham in 2011.
  • But, in knockout trophy games, it was the highest number of runs conceded and, in games when they have been chasing, Worcestershire's heaviest List A run defeat.
  • Yet, just five days later, Worcestershire rewrote their record books for the right reasons, making 401-6 to pull off their second-biggest run chase at New Road in their 108-year first-class history.
  • Joe Clarke became only the 15th player in Worcestershire's history to follow the likes of Doc Gibbons, Ron Headley, Glenn Turner, Alan Ormrod, Tom Moody, Moeen Ali and both Graeme Hick and Daryl Mitchell - who did it three times each - and score two centuries in a Championship match.
  • Mitchell, who performed the feat most recently when Worcestershire made 404-8, their best-ever New Road run chase, to beat Northants in August 2016, has now made 700 runs in nine innings including four centuries.
  • His overall tally of 731 makes him the leading scorer in Division Two, while Joe Leach, who replaced him as captain last winter, is the leading wicket-taker with 40, well backed by 26 from teenager Josh Tongue.

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