Daryl Mitchell laid solid foundations for Worcestershire’s run chase before the elements intervened on the third day of the Specsavers County Championship promotion battle with Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.
Worcestershire were left with a 226 target after skipper Joe Leach’s fourth five wicket haul of the summer – plus more sterling support today from Ed Barnard – dismissed Nottinghamshire for 275.
Then Mitchell shared in half century stands with fellow opener George Rhodes and Tom Fell bad light and then rain halted play with Worcestershire 123-2.
Mitchell was unbeaten on 63 from 145 balls with nine fours and needing 20 more runs to complete 1,000 in the Championship this summer.
Worcestershire will start again tomorrow morning needing another 103 to claim a seventh Championship win of the season but mindful there is still work to be done against a powerful side.
Nottinghamshire resumed on 138-5 and Barnard struck an early blow as Jake Libby, who was 42 not out overnight, added only two more before being bowled.
Leach, who had picked up a side niggle, came into the attack and accounted for Brendon Taylor (19) who was caught behind at 186-7.
Chris Read was applauded all the way to the wicket for his final innings at Trent Bridge with the Worcestershire players forming a guard of honour.
Leach completed his five wicket haul as nightwatchman Brett Hutton was trapped lbw for 32 with Notts on 209-8 and a lead of 159.
Lower order resistance came from Read and Jake Ball who added 56 in 11 overs.
It was Barnard who broke the stand as Read (38) was leg before and then the former England Under-19 player had Harry Gurney (5) caught behind to leave Ball unbeaten on 34.
Leach’s full final analysis was 19-2-69-5 – and a season’s haul of 58 wickets – with Barnard 21.4-1-78-3 and Josh Tongue 20-2-65-2 sharing the other wickets.
Worcestershire were looking for a solid start and it was given them for the second time in the game by Mitchell and Rhodes.
Mitchell collected three boundaries in an over from Steven Mullaney as the 50 came up in the 21st over.
The stand was worth 59 when Rhodes, who had made a defiant 32 in the first innings, was bowled by Hutton for 21.
New batsman Tom Fell had a life on four in the last over before tea as Cheteshwar Pujara at third slip put down a chance at third slip off Hutton.
Mitchell went to the interval on 49 not out and completed his half century from the first ball after the resumption – from 112 deliveries with eight fours.
The partnership with Fell was worth 66 before the number three was bowled by Mullaney for 30.
The players immediately left the field for bad light before rain set in to halt proceedings for the day.