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Matt Henry’s maiden five-wicket haul in county cricket led Worcestershire to their first County Championship victory at Wanatge Road since 2006 with a 311-run demolition of Northamptonshire inside three days.

Henry took 5 for 36 to rout Northants for just 142 in their second innings to hand Worcestershire a 21-point victory and move them within a single point of Division Two leaders Essex. 

Northants remain winless in the Championship after ten matches and took just three points from the game. This was also a record runs defeat against Worcestershire - beating the 185-run loss at Worcester in 1936.

Henry’s haul began after lunch on day three with an angled full delivery that burst through pad and bat to clean bowl Rob Keogh. He then produced a lifter to take Rob Newton’s outside edge through to Ben Cox. Another full ball angled in trapped Richard Levi lbw before David Murphy tamely pulled to mid-on. Another false pull stroke - from Seekkuge Prasanna, caught at deep square-leg - completed Henry’s five-for.

Joe Leach also added two more wickets to his first-innings 5 for 70 - Adam Rossington caught behind via an inside edge onto his pad and Steven Crook, who blasted a pull to Daryl Mitchell at mid-on, the catch was held at the second attempt.

The spin of George Rhodes finished Northants off and it was spin that began the second-innings slide: Ben Duckett was caught at short leg off Brett D’Oliveira’s leg spin to the final ball of the morning session.

Duckett’s wicket followed a morning where Ross Whitely swung Worcestershire towards a declaration with 45 from 36 balls. His quick runs helped the visitors pull out on 324 for 8 shortly before lunch and a lead of 453.

Worcestershire resumed day three with a lead of 310 and Ed Barnard, having arrived as nightwatchman on the second evening, struck the first ball of the day for four. He added three more boundaries in his 34 before edging Monty Panesar to wicketkeeper Murphy.

Whitely struck his second ball over long-on for six off Keogh and he added two more off Azharullah, the second of which flew into the upper tier of the Spencer Pavilion. Trying to clip Crook over midwicket, he found Prasanna running in off the boundary.

Whitley and Barnard added 74 in 10.1 overs for the sixth wicket. Consecutive fours for debutant George Rhodes followed off Crook before the declaration came 20 minutes before lunch. The Worcestershire bowlers then took over to put the visitors firmly in the Division Two promotion race.



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