Worcestershire v Durham: Joe Clarke on form in rain-hit first day
|Specsavers County Championship Division Two, New Road (day one):|
|Worcestershire 90-3: Clarke 46*|
|Durham: Yet to bat|
|Durham 1 pt, Worcestershire 0 pts|
Joe Clarke hit an unbeaten 46 to help promotion-chasing Worcestershire recover from a bad start on a weather-hit first day against Durham.
After overnight rain ruled out a start until after lunch at New Road, Durham's pace attack of Chris Rushworth, Graham Onions and Mark Wood caused problems.
But, from 13-2, Clarke and opener Brett D'Oliveira (22) shared a nerve-settling half-century stand of 56.
The hosts closed on 90-3, Clarke having so far put on 21 with George Rhodes.
Division Two leaders Worcestershire, who elected to bat when play finally got under way, still need six points from this game to be sure of going up.
If they beat Durham, it will almost certainly be enough to pip second-placed Notts to the title.
Third-placed Northants' game was completely washed out for the day at Leicester.
Onions is playing his final match for Durham, having announced that he will leave at the end of the season after being unable to agree a new contract.
England Lions batsman Joe Clarke:
"It was very tough early on for the batters so, where we are now, I think we will be happy with.
"We were always going to bat and it is a wicket we hope will turn on the third and fourth day and, with Ravi Ashwin as good a bowler as he is, we want to get him in the game as much as we can.
"Batting first was always going to be the way but I don't think we thought it would do as much as it did.
"The spin is on the slow side but it was the same for the Gloucestershire wicket last month so hopefully by the third or fourth day it really starts to go. The signs are there."
Durham coach Jon Lewis:
"We were hoping to reach an agreement with Graham (Onions) on his future, to stay with us but, unfortunately, it hasn't worked out like that.
"Graham has made his decision that he is going to play elsewhere. The second year (of a contract) was there. It was just relying on (playing) a certain number of games in that first year.
"Where the club is at the moment, it has to be realistic about what sort of gambles it can take. I'm not saying Graham is a gamble. He is a pretty consistent performer, but he is also not a spring chicken.
"Financially everyone reached an agreement but the second year needed to be guaranteed for Graham and unfortunately we weren't able to do that."