WORCESTERSHIRE director of cricket Steve Rhodes admitted his team have let the fans down this season, but promised to keep striving to put things right next term.
The New Road side were thrashed by an innings and 202 runs by bitter rivals Warwickshire yesterday to all-but snuff out their LV= County Championship Division One survival hopes.
The County’s relegation — after a campaign that has heralded only one win ahead of next week’s final game at Somerset — is set to be rubber-stamped today when Surrey’s game with Nottinghamshire comes to a close.
Surrey are in a strong position and only need a draw to condemn Worcestershire to the drop, but Rhodes is backing his youngsters to come back fighting in 2013.
He said: “I ’d like to think we can get straight back up.
“I feel that we have let people down. We should have done better this year, even though we have had limited resources, and we should have won more games.
“I feel under pressure — every person involved with the club must feel under pressure. It is not one person doing the job, it is a squad and club effort. I am a fighter and I enjoy challenges. “Watching us get rolled over for 60 in the first innings was embarrassing, hurtful and raised questions about whether our guys have been listening and if we’re doing the right things.
“We had youngsters out there because our more experienced players have let us down — that is the reason these guys have been given an opportunity and there are some good cricketers there. It will take a bit of time, but now things have moved on.”
Warwickshire’s victory procession got under way with the 15th ball of the day when Daryl Mitchell was bowled by Keith Barker without adding to his overnight 42.
Alexei Kervezee hit a 20-ball 19 and the score was 128-4 when he was trapped lbw by Barker. Joe Leach was bowled for two by Chris Wright and Brett D’Oliveira (13) caught by Varun Chopra at slip off Boyd Rankin.
Moeen Ali serenely progressed past 50 and ended on 72 not out, but Ben Cox was bounced out by Rankin , while Chris Russell, Nick Harrison and Alan Richardson followed to hand Warwickshire their first County Championship title since 2004.