Worcestershire (11 pts) drew with Middlesex (16 pts)
Middlesex’s promotion to Division One of the County Championship was confirmed after rain washed out the final day against Worcestershire at New Road.
The 11-times county champions had effectively made sure of finishing in the top two after accruing a maximum haul of five batting points on the third day.
But Middlesex collected the additional eight points for a draw to finish ahead of nearest challengers Glamorgan, while the Pears finish fourth.
Middlesex, who ended up winning six of their 14 games after a mid-season run of five games without a victory, will return to the top flight in 2023 along with Division Two champions Nottinghamshire.
Their 10-wicket win over Glamorgan at Lord’s proved crucial in the final analysis before an 80-run success away to Leicestershire ollowed by the required points haul at New Road.
It was during this game that opener Mark Stoneman and wicket-keeper-batter John Simpson completed 1,000 runs for the season while Toby Roland-Jones surpassed his previous best wicket haul in a campaign from a decade ago to end 67 scalps.
For Worcestershire, despite their woeful white-ball form, they were in red-ball contention for promotion for much of the summer – and there are plenty of green shoots of optimism to suggest a stronger challenge in 12 months’ time.
Azhar Ali is due to return for a second season as overseas player, having been a big influence on the progression of some of the promising youngsters, most notably Jack Haynes.
Dillon Pennington has also developed into a more consistent and potent force with the ball while left armer Ben Gibbon showed plenty of promise in his first season as a professional cricketer.
They have also recruited Yorkshire all-rounder Matthew Waite and Warwickshire’s Adam Hose on three-year deals.
But it was a soggy end to Ed Barnard’s career at New Road before he heads up the M5 to join Warwickshire after establishing himself in the Worcestershire top six to finish the Pears’ leading run scorer in 2022 – with a career-best 895.
Worcestershire head coach Alex Gidman:
“We set the challenge last night to draw the game and bat with the same discipline as we have for the last few games. The conditions meant it wasn’t to be.
“But we should be really excited and confident about what this group can achieve over these next few years.
“We are building a group. Young Worcestershire domestic players that are performing.”
Middlesex head coach Richard Johnson:
“It feels amazing to have secured promotion. We would have liked to have played, put a win on the board and really celebrate.
“Securing that fifth batting point on Wednesday night, on a wicket that was tough work, showed everything that we’ve been trying to do all year. It all came together really nicely. To battle hard, defend the good balls and score 500 was an amazing achievement.
“These last three games have been amazing, back to back, really hard work, and I’m just so glad the lads got their rewards at the end of it. The whole squad has been brilliant.
“You are always going to get a couple of stand-outs and Mark Stoneman and John Simpson’s seasons have been outstanding. To get 1,000 runs in 14 games is really, really good and Toby Roland-Jones, to get 67 wickets on good wickets, has been a terrific achievement. That is his best season and probably on the hardest, flattest wickets he’s had to bowl on.”