DURHAM go into today's final group game in the Royal London Cup, starting at 2pm, needing to win at home to Lancashire, while hoping Nottinghamshire fail to win at Northampton.
The Outlaws edged back in front of Durham in the battle for third place in the north group by cruising to a seven-wicket win at Old Trafford on Sunday and will start favourites against a Northants side with nothing at stake.
Whoever finishes third looks certain to be away to Somerset in the play-off for a semi-final place, but the likelihood is that Durham will be denied by the two-point deficit they were obliged to bring into the competition.
Hopes remained high during an opening stand of 122 at Worcester on Sunday, although coach Jon Lewis said: “I don't think it ever looked quite like a stroll.
“It was a good partnership but it never quite got the run rate down. As a fielding team, you know if the rate is still staying steady and you get a new guy at the crease, you can try and impose yourself.
“Worcestershire did that very well. They squeezed the new batsmen and we stopped dictating the terms.
“It was great for Graham Clark to get his first century, but I'm sure even for him it will be a little bit bitter that it was not in a winning cause.”
While deputising at the top of the order for Stephen Cook, who returns today, Clark made 92 at Trent Bridge and 114 at Worcester.
At 24 the Cumbrian batsman has come through three years in the academy and two more on a development contract and is finally repaying Durham for their faith in him.
Today he is likely be up against his brother Jordan, a seam-bowling all-rounder who is two years his senior and has also struggled to nail down a regular place with Lancashire.
The Red Rose men are a point behind Durham and have a very slim chance of qualification. Their current overseas man is Dane Vilas a wicketkeeper/batsman who has played in six Tests for South Africa.
Jimmy Anderson is available, while the start of England's one-day series against South Africa next week rules out Mark Wood for Durham.