Colossus Rhodes

Somerset 236 and 376-6 dec Worcs 194 and 449-9 Worcs won by 1 wicket

Worcestershire had not won a Britannic Assurance Championship match this season before yesterday, and for much of the day it seemed that their unenviable record would continue. Somerset had set them a most unlikely target of 446 to win, and they had to bat last on a pitch which had seen them reduced to 194 all out just two days earlier.

Ultimately, it was wicketkeeper Steve Rhodes, discarded by England because of his failures with the bat, who led Worcestershire to a glorious first victory against all the odds with just three balls and one wicket to spare. He finished unbeaten on 92, with 13 fours - his second gutsy knock of the match.

But there were solid contributions all down the order as in turn Tim Curtis, Tom Moody and Vikram Solanki all made half- centuries to build the platform from which Rhodes completed the victory assault.

It should be noted that Somerset in no small way contributed to their own downfall with some wayward bowling and sloppy fielding, which included a dropped catch by Peter Bowler at first slip when Rhodes was on 43 that would have won them the match.

But credit must go to the Worcestershire batsmen, who attacked their unlikely target from the start when they resumed at 44 for no wicket faced with scoring a further 402 runs to secure victory.

Curtis was unusually aggressive in his opener's role, setting the tone with 15 fours and a six before he was trapped lbw by Andy Caddick, the pick of the home side's bowlers, just 15 runs short of what would have been a deserved century, while Moody went on to reach 54 including 10 crisply struck boundaries. The innings of the day came from 20-year-old Solanki, who hit his maiden championship half-century. He scored 71 off just 83 balls with 13 fours and a six to keep Worcestershire's target firmly within sight.

Caddick's four wickets gave him match figures of 11 for 234, but that was little consolation to the shattered home side who were on the wrong end of the highest total ever made against the county in the fourth innings.

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