Gloucestershire v Worcestershire: Joe Clarke defies hosts to earn draw

Joe Clarke
Joe Clarke passed 600 Championship runs for the season in Worcestershire's second innings
Specsavers County Championship Division Two, Cheltenham (day four):
Gloucestershire 383 & 286-4 dec: Dent 135*, Roderick 81
Worcestershire 300-9 dec & 155-5: Clarke 93*
Gloucestershire (12 pts) drew with Worcestershire (11 pts)

Joe Clarke rescued Worcestershire from a worrying position, scoring 93 not out to earn the visitors a draw against Gloucestershire at Cheltenham.

Chasing a notional 370 to win in 51 overs, Worcestershire slipped to 5-3.

But Clarke, Ben Cox (21) and Ross Whiteley stabilised the innings and they were 155-5 when hands were shaken.

Earlier, Chris Dent's 135 not out and 81 from Gareth Roderick helped Gloucestershire to 286-4 in their second innings before they declared.

Second-placed Worcestershire's 11-point haul took them 15 behind Division Two leaders Nottinghamshire and 13 above Kent in third, with all three teams having five games left to play.

Gloucestershire stayed seventh after taking 12 points from the match.

Gloucestershire head coach Richard Dawson told BBC Radio Bristol:

"It wasn't a dead game at the start of the day and I felt we did a really good job of putting Worcestershire under pressure. Chris Dent did brilliantly against some very good bowling. He rode out a tough period and went on to a very good century.

"There was an outside chance of victory bowling a possible 52 overs at them and David Payne and Liam Norwell gave us a great start. But Joe Clarke then batted really well and managed the situation.

"If Worcestershire had got us three or four down early on, they could have pushed for victory on a fast scoring ground. Chris and Gareth Roderick made sure that wasn't the case."

Worcestershire director of cricket Steve Rhodes told BBC Hereford & Worcester:

"We were extremely disappointed that there was not going to be a situation where we could fix up some sort of reasonable game for the crowd that turned up and for the two groups of players.

"It seemed as though Gloucestershire wanted it all ways. They wanted to get as many runs as they could, quickly in the end after a boring start, and then try to bowl us out in a short space of time.

"Perhaps they are now ruing the fact that they didn't have another hour at us and it may be something they consider next time. If they had given us 70 overs to bat, we might have had a real problem hanging on for a draw."

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