WORCESTERSHIRE coach Alex Gidman said he is not surprised by the competitive nature of Division Two of the County Championship which has left his Pears side closer to the foot of the table than the promotion spots.
The New Road chief fell back on his pre-season forecast which made no predictions, except to highlight the strength of the ten teams bidding for the three places in English cricket’s top tier next season.
Three promotion places are on offer as part of a shake-up of the domestic game to create a ten-team Division One next season and despite being among the favourites before a ball was bowled, the Pears currently find themselves in sixth place.
The Pears are nine points above basement boys Middlesex and 15 behind Sussex in third place with a game in hand on all of the sides around them. Pacesetters Glamorgan and Lancashire are more than 40 points ahead of the New Road outfit.
Worcestershire have faced Lancashire twice, Middlesex, Sussex and Glamorgan in the last month and face a trip to lowly Durham next week before the competition takes a break for the Vitality Blast group stage campaign.
The Sussex and Glamorgan fixtures were typical of the cricket on display this season, with no-one giving an inch and Worcestershire having the better of a drawn encounter at Kidderminster and scrapping it out for a share of the spoils at Cardiff.
“You’ve got to be ready for games. There is no hiding place. I said at the beginning of the season that this division, particularly this year, is very strong,” said Gidman.
“There are a lot of very good teams that are performing very well. We have no divine right to assume we would finish here or there – or beat them or them.
“Was I anticipating this season being so competitive? Genuinely I was. I did think that from the very beginning.
“I never made any statements about where we would finish or what we would do. It was about taking each game as it comes and that will continue to be the case.
“I’m not surprised. There are some very talented cricketers in each team and when each team is fully fit, which seems to be the case with the majority of the teams, it is very competitive. It is an exciting league to be in,” he added.