WORCESTERSHIRE hosted Surrey’s title-winning party while facing up to the prospect of falling through the County Championship Division One trapdoor.

The visitors ended a 16-year wait for the crown with a three-wicket win at New Road to leave Kevin Sharp's men trailing safety by 30 points with only a trip to Essex and a home clash with Yorkshire left to save their skins.

Surrey openers Rory Burns and Mark Stoneman laid the foundations with a century stand and while Worcestershire made the visitors fight all the way, victory was clinched 20 minutes before tea.

Morne Morkel’s devastating five-wicket burst on Wednesday evening meant his side had to tackle a less demanding target than had looked likely.

Surrey resumed on 70 without loss with Stoneman and Burns looking relatively untroubled.

Stoneman’s back-foot cover drive for his 10th four at Wayne Parnell’s (2-101) expense took him to a 69-ball half century to raise the century stand.

Burns followed his partner to 50 from 90 deliveries in the same over with the aid of eight fours and it was Parnell who finally broke the partnership on 111 when he bowled Stoneman for 59.

Dillon Pennington bowled a probing spell and was rewarded when first innings century-maker Burns was bowled off his pads for 66.

Another of Worcestershire’s promising crop of young pace bowlers Josh Tongue then accounted for Dean Elgar (21) at 157 for three.

Ollie Pope and Ben Foakes, able to bat in his accustomed position after illness meant he dropped down the order for the first innings, saw Surrey to lunch with no further alarms.

Only 62 was needed when Foakes (22) went for a top-edged pull against Parnell and fell to a fine catch by Ross Whiteley running back from square leg.

Worcestershire continued to plug away and Will Jacks (12) holed out to extra cover off Ed Barnard.

Pope (49) was comprehensively bowled by Pennington who then dismissed Tom Curran (7) as he gloved to Whiteley running back from slip.

But 36-year-old Rikki Clarke kept his nerve to see Surrey over the finishing line and there were wild scenes of celebration when Morkel turned Pennington for the winning boundary.

The outcome marked a significant turnaround after Tom Fell (69), Whiteley (91), Barnard (63) and Parnell (42) had inspired Worcestershire to lead by 68 after the first innings.

Chasing 336, Burns walloped 122 in Surrey’s 268 but the hosts could only muster 203 in the second innings despite Fell’s 89 as Morkel (5-24) ran riot with eight maidens from 17 overs.

While Worcestershire refused to throw in the towel, a damaging defeat always looked likely less than 48 hours before the club’s first T20 Finals Day.