THE tremendous efforts of Glenn McGrath have failed to secure Worcestershire promotion from the County Championship Division Two.

In the end they had to settle for fifth place in the table after their rain-ravaged match with champions Northamptonshire ended in a draw at New Road on Saturday.

Australian pace ace McGrath, however, did his utmost to try to enable the County to sign off their Championship campaign on a high. He bowed out until the 2002 season with a county-best return of 8-41 to confirm his place as the country's leading Championship wicket-taker with 76 victims.

With Thursday and Friday completely washed out, Worcestershire resumed battle on Saturday on a shaky 50-5 of 23.3 overs in reply to Northants first innings total of 260 all out.

They safely negotiated the follow on target of a further 61 runs and then went on to make 124-7 before declaring. David Leather-dale top scored with 46 followed by Steve Rhodes on 42. They put on a crucial 73.

The declaration set the scene for magical McGrath to completely take over centre stage.

He ripped through the shell-shocked Northants batting line-up and captured his eight wicket haul in 13.5 lethal overs.

He would have beaten his career-best of 8-38 against England at Lord's in 1997 had it not been for two edged boundaries by Toby Bailey in the last over.

McGrath's heroics helped dismiss Northants for 125 in 36.5 overs.

The only other two wickets fell to Stuart Lampitt, leaving the County to make 262 in 43 overs for an unlikely victory.

Their hit-and-hope charge resulted in an almost inevitable crash to 59-5 before bad light caused an early closure at 119-6.

It left Ryan Driver on 42 not out while the other two double figure scores were produced by Vikram Solanki (30) and Rhodes (24).