So it's official now Glenn McGrath will be playing for Worcestershire next year.

This is welcome and heartening news.

It's been a long time since Worcestershire have had an imposing fast bowler and cricket lovers in the county will relish the prospect of next season. There is nothing quite like having the quickest, meanest "gunslinger" around on your side.

This is in no way to under estimate the effect which losing Tom Moody will have. His has been an immense contribution since 1991 when he first joined the County and a first Benson and Hedges win was secured.

Since then he has delighted fans and fellow players alike with his uninhibited batting, his outrageous stealing of singles and his all-round geniality. He brings a forthrightness to his cricket which all Australians share, though he was more at home with a smile than a sledge. This could, of course, have had something to do with his distinctly medium pace.

I remember him beating Graham Gooch with an absolute beauty and hiding his frustration behind a parody of typical English reserve. "Oh, that really is most unfortunate." The fact that Gooch was in the middle of a run which brought him close on 800 runs in four innings against us added a certain poignancy to his comments.

It's his batting which will most remain in the memory, though. It started explosively in 1991 with 160 in his first Sunday League game at New Road when the new hospitality boxes were blitzed. The pinnacle would have been the withering ass-aults in the semi and final of the 1994 NatWest Trophy. When the front foot started splaying towards mid-on and the stance became more baseball like, than you knew the fun was about to begin.

I'm writing about him as if he has already gone when in fact he has the chance to return and lead Worcestershire to one more triumph to seal his time here.

Last week's defeat by Warwickshire has left no margin for error, although in a way nothing has significantly changed. If Lancashire and Worcestershire win all their intervening games, it will still be the case that whoever wins the game on September 19 will win the first National League.

Monday, September 6, 1999.