ENGLAND Lions batsman Joe Clarke helped Worcestershire salvage a draw from their Specsavers County Championship Division Two clash at struggling Gloucestershire.

Clarke came to the rescue with a quality innings of 93 not out before the players shook hands with the visitors’ total on 155-5 and nine more overs available of the rain-affected match at Cheltenham.

Fourth-from-bottom Gloucestershire took 12 points and second-placed Worcestershire 11 which put them 13 clear of Kent and 15 behind leaders Nottinghamshire.

Home left-handed opener Chris Dent hit his second Championship century of the season, finishing unbeaten on 135 as his side ran up 286-4 declared in their second innings from an overnight 62-1.

Gareth Roderick also contributed 81 as Worcestershire were set 370 to win in a minimum of 51 overs.

They were soon in a deep hole as David Payne struck twice in his opening two overs and Liam Norwell also grabbed an early wicket to make it 5-3 before Clarke, 21, intervened.

Unbeaten on 11 overnight Dent was content to build steadily with partner Will Tavare as any suggestion of a contrived finish following a third day decimated by rain was dispelled.

Gloucestershire progressed to 90 when Tavare fell lbw to Ed Barnard, pushing forward.

That brought in Roderick who gave solid support as Dent moved to his half-century off 143 balls with eight fours.

At one point Worcestershire seamer John Hastings was bowling to six slips as the visitors perhaps made their feelings clear about the scoring rate.

Skipper Joe Leach brought on spinners Brett D’Oliveira and George Rhodes which quickly saw the batsmen up the tempo.

A succession of boundaries as lunch approached saw Gloucestershire to 188-2 at the interval with Dent on 90.

He reached his hundred with a swept four off Rhodes, having made his second 50 off just 43 deliveries.

Soon Roderick was raising his bat for a half-century, having faced 77 balls and hit five fours.

Both hit sixes as Rhodes went for 21 off an over.

They had added 189 in 29.4 overs when Roderick was bowled aiming to launch Josh Tongue back over his head.

When Graeme van Buuren fell to Daryl Mitchell first ball Gloucestershire skipper Phil Mustard called a halt to the innings with Dent having faced 203 deliveries and extended his boundary count to 15 fours and three sixes.

Worcestershire immediately plunged into trouble as Payne removed D’Oliveira and Tom Fell for ducks, both lbw to balls from the left-arm seamer that nipped back.

Norwell weighed in with the key wicket of Mitchell, who was bowled for five, and the scoreboard read 5-3 in the sixth over.

Clarke and Rhodes took the total to 47-3 at tea but when Norwell bowled Rhodes for nine shouldering arms soon after the break Gloucestershire still cherished hopes of an unlikely victory.

That remained the case when first-innings centurion Ben Cox fell lbw to Kieran Noema-Barnett playing no shot for 21 with the total on 110, shortly after Clarke had reached an impressive 49-ball half-century.

But Clarke never looked in any trouble and by stumps he had faced 95 balls, striking 15 fours.