HEAD coach Kevin Sharp insisted relegation-haunted Worcestershire could have no regrets after going “toe to toe” with county champions Surrey but admitted: “It’s going to be tough now.”

A three-wicket defeat left the New Road outfit bottom of Division One and 30 points adrift of safety with two league matches to play.

Surrey’s ninth straight victory, a run that began after Worcestershire had drawn the return fixture in May, rubber stamped their first title for 16 years, but Sharp remained proud of the fight shown by his charges.

“It was a terrific game of cricket and it could have gone either way right to the end,” said Sharp.

“The lads have gone toe to toe with the county champions and I’m very proud of them.

“I think the Morne Morkel spell was the difference. He was going to come off and then bowled Ed Barnard with the last ball of an over.

“Then he bowled a bit more, fantastically well, and got two or three wickets.

“You could always say we could have done some things a bit better, we could have batted a bit better in some places or been tidier with the ball in places.

“At the end of the day our conversation in the dressing room was a very positive one. The lads can be very proud of themselves, to have fought and scrapped like they did to play some great cricket.

“You wouldn’t have known it was a top-versus-bottom clash. That’s the bottom line. For us, there is so much to look forward to.

“I know it’s going to be tough now. I see my old club Yorkshire won so they’ve got quite a bit ahead of us.

“We will have to win the last two and the other results will have to go our way but we will attempt to do that.”