Head Coach Kevin Sharp spoke of his pride after Worcestershire pushed new Specsavers County Champions Surrey to the limit before going down by three wickets at Blackfinch New Road.

Surrey were set a 272 target and were made to fight all the way before their first title in 16 years was secured.

Paceman Dillon Pennington gave another shining example of his potential and finished with figures of 12.2-3-41-3.

Sharp said: “It was a terrific game of cricket and it could have gone either way right to the end. The lads have gone toe to toe with the County Champions and I’m very proud of them.

“I think the Morne Morkel spell (on the third evening) was the difference. I think he was nearly going to be coming off and then he bowled Barny (Ed Barnard) with the last ball of an over.

“He then bowls a bit more, bowled fantastically well, and got two or three wickets, and that did make the difference.

“You can always say we could have done some things a bit better and we could have batted a bit better in some places or could be tidier with the ball in places.

“But at the end of the day, our conversation in the dressing room has been a very positive one and the lads can be very proud of themselves, to fight and scrap like they did and play some great cricket.

“You wouldn’t have known it was a top versus bottom clash. That’s the bottom line. For us, there is so much to look forward to.”

Sharp says the County will continue to fight hard in the battle to stay in the top flight.

He said: “I know it’s going to be tough now, the last two games. I see my old club (Yorkshire) won today, they beat Lancashire, so they’ve got quite a little bit ahead of us.

“I haven’t looked at the mathematics. We will have to win the last two and the other results will have to go our way but we will attempt to do that.

“In the meantime we’ve got something very special to look forward to (Vitality Blast finals day).”

Sharp added: “What will it mean for some of the youngsters to face international players? What great experiences. Worcestershire, as we know, is a club that likes to play its own young players and given them opportunities.

“We are well respected for that throughout the country and with lads like Dillon, and Tonguey, they are just gaining experience everytime they go out onto the field.

“That is only going to stand us all in good stead for the future.”