PEARS coach Alex Gidman urged his team to end their four-day campaign on a positive note as they welcomed Glamorgan to New Road for the first of three games to bring the curtain down on the County Championship.
Worcestershire take on the surprise promotion contenders and Gloucestershire in back to back matches at their headquarters before switching their attention to Vitality Blast Finals Day on September 21 at Edgbaston.
The mid-June flooding led to the fixtures with Sussex and Derbyshire being switched to Kidderminster’s Chester Road ground in a disappointing campaign for the Pears who were among the favourites for promotion back to English cricket’s top flight earlier in the summer.
Speaking ahead of the Glamorgan clash which began on Tuesday, Gidman said his side had a lot of improving to do in the off-season in four-day cricket.
“The last three games are vital for us all to keep trying to improve and next season will come around very quickly. It’s pretty important we keep trying to make strides forward so we can start next season hopefully with a bang,” he said.
“We’ve barely played any red ball cricket here which has been disappointing for obvious reasons (the flooding) – disappointing for us, disappointing for the members, supporters.
“It will be nice to play a couple of games here and hopefully get some good results and finish this season as strongly as possible.”
Hamish Rutherford made his home Specsavers County Championship debut
The New Zealand batsman has rejoined the county after being called up by his country for the third and final T20I against Sri Lanka in Kandy last Friday.
It meant he was unavailable for the Rapids’ superb eight-wicket win over Sussex Sharks in a Vitality Blast quarter-final on Friday evening.
Rutherford made a single Championship appearance during his early season spell with Worcestershire, scoring 123 in his single innings against Leicestershire.
The Kiwi will be available for the remainder of the campaign including Finals Day but the participation of his countryman Martin Guptill on the Edgbaston stage is in doubt after the big-hitter was injured during the T20 series with Sri Lanka.
Gidman said: “We don’t know the extent of his injury. To fly home from an international series would suggest it is pretty bad.
“It is an abdominal injury of some description. We will have to get in touch with him over the next few days and see where he is at. We just have to wait and see.”
The Rapids have been drawn against Notts Outlaws in the first semi-final of the Vitality Blast at 11am. In the other semi-final Derbyshire Falcons – who will appear at Finals Day for the first time – will do battle with Essex Eagles at 2.30pm. The final is scheduled to start at 6.45pm.