WORCESTERSHIRE skipper Tom Moody believes his side are on the right track following their third County Championship victory in four games.

Saturday's win over Gloucestershire at Cheltenham lifted Worcestershire up to ninth place in the table and, with the County Championship set to be split into two divisions next season, on course for a place in the top flight.

The County's only setback in their last four matches came with a narrow defeat against Kent in a game that could have gone either way.

Had it finished in Worcestershire's favour, they would now lie fourth in the table. Nevertheless Moody is convinced even better times are in store.

"We're playing solid cricket now," he said. "And I'm sure we will be where we want to be by the end of the season."

Moody was particularly encouraged by his side's batting against Gloucestershire, which resulted in three players posting centuries.

As a result Worcestershire more than doubled their tally of batting points for the campaign and Moody added: "It was good to see three of our guys score good hundreds.

"We've been short of runs this season but are making good progress now."

However, some all-too-familiar batting frailties were apparent when Worcestershire, thanks to a last wicket stand of 130 by Martyn Ball and Jon Lewis, had to bat again to clinch victory.

That scenario looked highly unlikely when Gloucestershire, who had begun the fourth day on 185-4 still needing 175 runs to make the visitors bat again, were reduced to 295-9 shortly before lunch.

Alamgir Sheriyar suggested Worcestershire would not have to wait long to clinch victory when he trapped Matt Windows leg before for 21, and their hopes of survival looked even more remote when they lost three wickets in the space of seven balls just before the interval.

But then came the heroics from Ball and Lewis which left Worcestershire needing 66 for victory.

It was a target they made hard work of achieving, losing five wickets in the process, but were still good value for what was a comprehensive victory.

Worcs (first inns): 591-7 dec (Solanki 171, Weston 139, Hick 122). Gloucs (first inns): 231 (Hancock 58, Sheriyar 6-101).

GLOUCS Second Inns(Overnight 185-4)

Barnett c Rhodes b Sheriyar 106

Windows lbw b Sheriyar 21

Alleyne c Hick b Newport 34

Harvey c Rhodes b Newport 9

Snape c Hick b Newport 0

Ball not out 70

Lewis b Solanki 62

Extras: 10 Total: (all out) 425

Bowling: Sheriyar 29-8-136-3; Newport 18-6-57-4; Moody 17-2-62-0; Lampitt 13-3-56-0; Solanki 15.3-4-40-1; Illingworth 29-17-38-0; Hick 12-5-25-1; Leatherdale 4-0-7-1.


Second Inns

Weston b Smith 0

Hafeez lbw b Smith 0

Hick b Smith 4

Solanki b Smith 13

Moody c & b Ball 29

Leatherdale not out 11

Rhodes not out 4

Extras: 7 Total: (5 wkts) 68

Bowling: Smith 8-0-47-4; Lewis 5-2-10-0; Ball 3.1-1-10-1; Snape 1-1-0-0.