GLENN McGrath powered Worcestershire back into the County Championship Division Two promotion race with a magical match-winning performance against Gloucestershire at New Road.

The Aussie pace ace claimed a career-best match haul of 10-69 as the County triumphed yesterday by 52 runs with more than a day to spare.

The result delighted New Road coach Bill Athey, who said afterwards: "It's probably the best we have played for about three or four weeks. We deserved to win it.

"Being 98 all out in the first three hours of the game was very disappointing, but we fought back and Glenn bowled an inspired spell first innings and put us right back in it.

"We batted very solidly second innings on a difficult wicket and then bowled well again to run out fairly comfortable winners in the end."

The victory ended a damaging run of five consecutive matches without success and was achieved on a wicket which came under the spotlight when 15 wickets crashed on the opening day.

On hand to monitor events was ECB pitches liason officer Phil Sharpe who decided not to call for a pitches panel which would have had the power to deduct points.

McGrath enabled the County to achieve a slender 11 run first innings lead when he took 7-29.

When play resumed yesterday, the County were 229 ahead on 218-9 following a fine 56 from David Leatherdale and an undefeated half century by Steve Rhodes.

It took Gloucestershire just 13 minutes to end Worcestershire's innings when paceman Ian Harvey removed last man Alamgir Sheriyar to finish with Championship-best figures of 6-100. Rhodes was 52 not out.

The left skipper Mark Alleyne's men to score 237 to win - a task which soon far tougher when they plunged to 10-3 following two wickets in three balls for McGrath.

Imraan Mohammed eventually became his third victim before Jeremy Snape and Jack Russell put on 63 in 16 overs for the seventh wicket - only the second half century stand of the match.

Once the partnership was over, however, Worcestershire began pushing hard for the winning post with Snape following Russell back to the pavilion after cracking 43.