Cricket: Worcestershire release three pace bowlers

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Worcestershire are to release three pace bowlers, James Brinkley, Paul Thomas and Ben Preece, because of "limited opportunities at first-team level". Thomas took five wickets against the West Indies on his debut two years ago and Brinkley, born in Scotland but groomed in Australia, claimed 6 for 98 on his Championship debut against Surrey in 1994.

The New Road club are not renewing the summer contracts of the batsman Stephen Price and off-spinner Neil Slade either.

The club's secretary, Michael Vockins, said: "We felt it was right to reduce the size of the playing staff to allow us room to sign one or two key players as the opportunity arises."

Worcestershire have already completed the signing of Cornwall's 18-year- old left-handed batsman, Ryan Driver.