Rhodes stays defiant to bitter end

Lancashire 403-9 & 242-6
Worcestershire 352-9 & 199-8
Match drawn

For two-dozen seasons Steven Rhodes has stubbornly refused to bow to opposition or circumstance and he finished his first-class career yesterday in typically obstinate style thwarting Lancashire's hopes of an unlikely victory.

For two-dozen seasons Steven Rhodes has stubbornly refused to bow to opposition or circumstance and he finished his first-class career yesterday in typically obstinate style thwarting Lancashire's hopes of an unlikely victory.

It was not enough, however, to save Worcestershire, the county he has served admirably as a player for 19 years, from relegation. As for Lancashire, they still have a slim chance of survival but they must defeat Gloucestershire this week, but if the Glosters gather more than six points then the result is irrelevant and the Red Rose county will join Northamptonshire and Worcestershire for the drop.

During the morning session when Andrew Hall took three wickets in eight balls, it even looked as if Worcestershire might dismiss Lancashire cheaply and register a win that would keep their own hopes of staying up alive, but half- centuries by Carl Hooper and Glen Chapple afforded Warren Hegg the chance to declare.

He set 294 in 45 overs, a cautious equation that angered Mark Newton, Worcestershire's chief executive. "I'm very unimpressed with the declaration. I hope they go down with us," he said. If Hegg had been bolder, they might have forced a victory that would have reduced their deficit with Gloucestershire from 17 points to seven.

When Rhodes came to the crease Worcestershire wereon 134 for six with 15 overs remaining and with the aggressive Andrew Hall at the other end, a breakthrough was always possible. It came but too late, in the third last over, when Hall edged an attempted cut off Gary Keedy.

Rhodes at least left the field undefeated with career statistics of 1,263 dismissals and nearly 15,000 runs. His was not the only farewell. Both overseas players, Andy Bichel and Hall are leaving, as is Kadeer Ali.

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