County Championship: Sussex win despite Joe Clarke century

Worcestershire's England Under-19s batsman Joe Clarke
Joe Clarke has now hit a 50 or more in five of his 10 Championship appearances for Worcestershire
LV= County Championship Division One, New Road
Worcestershire 210 and 237: Clarke 104 not out, Zaidi 3-55
Sussex 510-5 dec: Wright 226 not out, Brown 103, Nash 90
Sussex won by an innings and 63 runs
Sussex 24 pts, Worcestershire 2 pts
Match scorecard

Worcestershire teenager Joe Clarke made his maiden County Championship century but could not prevent Worcestershire losing by an innings and 63 runs to relegation rivals Sussex at New Road.

After resuming on 59-3, still 249 adrift of Sussex, the hosts needed to bat the day out to avoid defeat.

But despite losing 12 overs to rain and bad light in the morning, they had slumped to 101-6 by lunch.

Worcestershire were eventually all out for 237, with Clarke unbeaten on 104.

Shropshire-born Clarke's chanceless innings contained 14 fours in the highly-regarded England Under-19s star's four-hour stay at the crease.

But the 19-year-old's highest score for Worcestershire remains his 131 not out, also at New Road, against Gloucestershire in last month's One-Day Cup qualifying group defeat.

The final countdown at the wrong end of the table
9-12 September: Somerset v Hampshire
14-17 September: Durham v Worcestershire, Hampshire v Yorkshire, Sussex v Somerset
22-25 September: Notts v Hampshire, Somerset v Warwickshire, Worcestershire v Middlesex, Yorkshire v Sussex

Saeed Ajmal was last man out on what was almost certainly his farewell appearance, as Worcestershire are replacing him with West Indian fast bowler Shannon Gabriel for their last two matches.

Ajmal's 16 Championship wickets with his remodelled action this summer have come at a cost of 55.62 - in marked contrast to the 63 he took in nine matches last summer to help Worcestershire win promotion.

Sussex's maximum haul of 24 points from their first Championship win since May following an eight-match winless run, lifted them to sixth place.

They moved above both Somerset and Hampshire, who meet at Taunton next week, before Sussex host Somerset the following week.

Steve Rhodes' Worcestershire, who have 10 days to prepare for their next game against Durham at Chester-le-Street, now trail by eight points at the bottom of Division One, knowing they probably need to win both their final two matches to avoid going down again.

Centurion Joe Clarke told BBC Hereford & Worcester:

"They bowled in better areas and had better plans. Getting 210 in the first innings was nowhere near enough on a good-wicket first day. They cashed in, got a score and, once you are behind, it's hard to come back.

"I've got mixed emotions. It's great to get my maiden first-class hundred but, on the flipside, to get it in a losing cause isn't as sweet really.

"I've come close a few times, an 80 and a 70, and the lads have been saying 'When is it going to come?' Getting a one-day century was a massive help, making me realise I could get to a hundred."

Sussex captain Chris Nash told BBC Radio Sussex:

"It' a huge win for us against a team close to us in the table. There's now a bit of a gap. It's a nice position to be in having things in our own hands.

"It was a flat pitch but we worked hard for four days and everything we set out to do we achieved.

"Chris Jordan bowled a world-class spell on the first day on a flat pitch and that set things up nicely for us for the remainder of the game."

BBC Radio Sussex's Adrian Harms:

"Ultimately a comfortable win for Sussex which could go a long way to securing their place in Division One.

"Sussex coach Mark Robinson, full of praise for his bowlers taking 20 wickets on a flat pitch, feels his team now have 'momentum and energy'.

"The wickets are the final day were shared amongst five bowlers, while Joe Clarke batted beautifully but ultimately only delayed the inevitable."