WORCESTERSHIRE'S hopes of a place in the first division of the County Championship next season are fading following their rain-ravaged draw against Lancashire at New Road.

They are now 14 points adrift of the top half of the table where they need to finish to secure first division status when the competition is split next year.

Fourteenth placed Worcestershire have two matches left -- away to Essex and home to Middlesex -- and have already played one more game than those counties currently occupying the leading nine positions.

With the first two days completely washed out and a delayed start on the third day, the match against Lancashire looked to have draw written all over it when play resumed yesterday.

In the end the County had to be content with nine points, including just one for their batting.

New Road coach Bill Athey said: "Our one-day form has been very good, but our Championship form has left a lot to be desired. But we are working on that all the time.

"We have been very light on runs, particularly in first innings, and if you do that you are up against it."

Yesterday began with Lancashire resuming on 19-2 in reply to the County's 227.

They were eventually dismissed for 217 with paceman Alamgir Sheriyar hoisting his bumper seasonal haul to 86 by claiming 4-86.

Vikram Solanki also lifted his impressive tally of first-class runs by following his first innings 'duck' with 40 not out as the County closed on 88-2 declared.

Athey said: "Sherry has had his best year ever and Vikram has got 1,000 runs for the first time, so naturally everybody in the club is delighted for them.

"Hopefully, their contribution this year will be rewarded maybe with some recognition by the England selectors."