Gloucestershire v Leicestershire
Specsavers County Championship -
14th April 2017
Gloucestershire beat Leicestershire by an innings and 6 runs
Venue: Brightside Ground, Bristol
Liam Norwell’s name dominated the third day of Gloucestershire’s first home Championship match of the season, as the willing Dorset born bowler took eight wickets to see Gloucestershire to victory over Leicestershire by an innings and six runs with a day to spare shortly after 5 o’clock.
It was fitting that Norwell should finish the match, in which he took five wickets in each innings, by having Ned Eckersley – by some distance Leicestershire’s best batsman – caught on the boundary by Jack Taylor. He had taken a wicket with the second ball of the morning, and in between claimed six more on the day to finish with 5-66 and 5-33 respectively.
Listen to Liam Norwell’s thoughts on the win and his 10 wickets here:
The day began with Leicestershire needing 152 to avoid the follow-on, and their position was hampered with Colin Ackermann being unable to bat. He had injured a finger while fielding and the blow taken on it when batting against Craig Miles on Saturday evening ended his participation in the match.
Ned Eckersley and Clint McKay were Leicestershire’s overnight pair, but McKay’s departure as he shouldered arms to Norwell in the first over didn’t signal an early enforcement of the follow-on. Eckersley found a capable partner in Richard Jones, who having taken a blow on the helmet when ducking into a ball from Craig Miles, hung around for 22 overs in which the pair added 89, chiefly through Eckersley’s careful shot selection.
25 not out overnight, he slowly grew in confidence by letting the ball come to him and playing it late, a leg glance off Miles bringing up his fifty with eight boundaries. Jones, despite scoring slowly, actually took a greater share of the strike and it was a surprise when Eckersley, having got to 88, was bowled going for an expansive drive off Norwell. His 5th wicket of the innings – Dent pouching an edge given by Griffiths – gave skipper Mustard the option of enforcing the follow-on with the lead standing at 207.
The talk at lunch, which Leicestershire took at 6-0 in their second innings, surrounded the possibility of a finish within the 66 overs that remained on the day and as in the first innings, Liam Norwell and David Payne both weighed in with early wickets. It was an hour’s play from which Leicestershire never recovered.
In the first 12 overs of the afternoon session Leicestershire lost five batsmen, and with it any realistic hope of saving the game. Horton (6) edged a ball that climbed from Payne to ‘keeper Mustard, and the inexperienced Dearden was caught by Bancroft at first slip off Norwell for 4. Leicestershire’s third wicket pair of skipper Mark Cosgrove and Neil Dexter have nearly 20,000 first class runs between them, but when Bancroft took a fine low catch off Norwell to remove Dexter for four Leicestershire were 21-3.
It must have seemed a strange sensation shortly afterwards for Eckersley to find himself walking back out to bat again after Pettini’s tentative defensive push proved no equal to another accurate delivery from Norwell. Only 54 minutes cricket had elapsed in between his two innings, and five wickets had gone down in between.
Fleetingly, Cosgrove drove fluently when there was room to do so, but a fine yorker by Payne accounted for the Australian left hander and his departure for 26 pointed the way towards a day off if the other Gloucestershire bowlers could maintain the pressure.
In the end they managed it but not before it took a mix up between Eckersley and Ben Raine to break a stand that threatened to see Gloucestershire bat again.
Against Miles and Liddle, who were introduced together after a long opening stint for Payne and Norwell, Leicestershire’s sixth wicket pair collected a flurry of boundaries. True, there were gaps with attacking fields but the bowlers will not be happy with their accuracy.
Liddle in particular struggled to bowl the right length, and when Eckersley drove him past mid on for a boundary he had scored more than 100 runs on the day across his two innings, his second innings fifty coming at a run a ball.
The calamitous moment came when the left handed Raine, who had played positively for his 42, set off for a single as Eckersley played the ball towards van Buuren at square leg. His partner stayed where he was, and an accurate throw to the bowler’s end saw Raine unable to recover his ground and end a stand that had been worth 86 in 15 overs.
McKay stayed with Eckersley until tea – the only blot on Norwell’s day being a dropped catch at mid off – but his return, and that of Payne, for one final burst after the resumption proved decisive.
Still needing 31 to make Gloucestershire bat again, they fell just short. McKay (27) was caught low at third slip by Hankins off Norwell, and Mustard clung one handed to a low edge from Jones which gave Payne his third wicket, but this was Norwell’s day.
His only previous 10 wicket haul in a Championship match was at Chelmsford in 2015, but he equalled in here when Eckersley’s game resistance ended as he was caught on the point boundary by Jack Taylor for 85. Norwell had taken five wickets in each innings, Gloucestershire had maximum points, and the gloom after the defeat at Kent had been well and truly lifted.
Day 2 :
Four significant contributions with the bat – including a second hundred of the season by Will Tavare – pushed Gloucestershire into a dominant position against Leicestershire on an increasingly sunny day at the Brightside Ground.
Resuming on 236-4, skipper Phil Mustard kept Tavare company as he added a Championship century to the one he made against Durham MCCU before the Gloucestershire skipper, partnered by Jack Taylor, accelerated the first innings either side of lunch. Both made fifties, as did David Payne as Gloucestershire plundered 134 runs in 25 overs before the declaration came at 466-8 40 minutes before tea.
Leicestershire’s response stuttered against the new ball, Payne taking two wickets and Norwell one to leave the visitors at 14-3. A century stand between skipper Cosgrove and Pettini repaired some of the damage until both fell in quick succession, and Leicestershire closed 301 behind on 165-6.
Listen to centurion Will Tavare’s thoughts on the day here :
Saturday’s play began with Gloucestershire in the ascendancy, but not by much. Will Tavare and skipper Phil Mustard still had 22 overs available to add to the one batting point already secured, but more importantly the target was a big first innings score on a day set fair for play.
Initially, against a ball only eight overs old, Gloucestershire’s fifth wicket pair were circumspect, respecting McKay’s accuracy and some early bounce for Raine. Gradually though, the cloud broke and the shackles were loosened, although the clock on Tavare’s innings had ticked around close to six hours by the time he took seven runs off an over from Griffiths and steered a single past gully off Raine to reach his century, made with a six and twelve boundaries from 271 balls.
CENTURY! The moment @wtav90 got his 💯 during the morning innings.
— Gloucestershire CCC (@Gloscricket) April 15, 2017
Tavare’s stand with Mustard had been worth 89 when Griffiths finally squeezed a full length ball past his previously solid defence, but his job was done. With a desire to accelerate the score, Jack Taylor’s arrival was timely, and a thick edge through the clip cordon brought up Gloucestershire’s third batting point in the last of the allotted overs.
Phil Mustard had earlier skied Cosgrove in the leg side – the ball fell safe – and the Gloucestershire captain completed his half century just before lunch, made from 131 balls with four boundaries.
96 runs had been added in the session as Gloucestershire reached 332-5, and they looked to hold all the cards against a tiring Leicestershire attack. Tactical progress in the game hinged on their ability to raise the run rate, a point that was emphatically answered in the afternoon session.
Mustard despatched Jones to the rope three times in the first over, and his stand with Taylor had been worth 78 in 18 overs when he drove hard at a ball from Dexter and was bowled for 72. Craig Miles went cheaply, fending a short ball from Jones to short leg, but a scoop by Taylor over the third man boundary completed the second Gloucestershire fifty of the day, made from 65 balls with four fours and a six.
The licence to bat freely was also subscribed to by David Payne, who punched Griffiths past point to bring up the 400 and proceeded to crack five boundaries in two overs. The loss of Taylor – caught behind off Griffiths for 60 – was only a minor inconvenience as Payne rattled up a 48 ball half century, and he and Norwell both cleared the boundary before skipper Mustard called in the ninth wicket pair at 466-8 to leave Leicestershire an awkward stint to bat before tea.
It was a test they failed to negotiate without damage as first Payne trapped Horton lbw and then Norwell sent back the left handed Dearden. Skipper Cosgrove joined Dexter at the start of a long final session (39 overs remained to be bowled) and Dexter’s swift departure, courtesy of Chris Dent’s catch at second slip, left Leicestershire at 14-3.
Payne and Norwell went on to share the first 14 overs before a double change brought Miles and Liddle into the attack, although they were unable to maintain the earlier threat. Cosgrove, especially off the back foot, and Pettini punished any variation in line and length and it took Jack Taylor’s introduction to provide a further breakthrough.
Cosgrove, needing two for his half century, clipped a return catch to the off spinner, and as often happens, one wicket brought another soon afterwards as the recalled Norwell had Pettini caught behind by skipper Mustard three balls after completing his fifty, made from 77 balls with nine boundaries.
Ackermann, who came in down the order after injuring a finger while fielding, was in further discomfort before the close and had to retire hurt, and Leicestershire’s troubles didn’t end there. Raine edged Miles to Mustard for a duck, and they’ll resume on Sunday still needing 152 to avoid the follow-on.
A century partnership for the third wicket between Graeme van Buuren and Will Tavare saw Gloucestershire edge the first day of their Championship match with Leicestershire at the Brightside Ground and lift some of the disappointment at the heavy defeat by Kent on Sunday.
Having mustered only 210 runs at the St Lawrence Ground between the two innings, Gloucestershire’s top order all got starts against a Leicestershire attack without a front line spinner, but it was Tavare and van Buuren who converted their ground work into a stand of 127 in 40 overs.
When bad light forced the players off late in the day, Gloucestershire had reached 236-4, with Tavare unbeaten on 73, made in almost five hours. Under new regulations it may be possible to make up the eight overs lost later in the match.
Listen to Graeme van Buuren’s thoughts at the close here:
Gloucestershire retained the same side that lost at Canterbury, and under cloudy skies it was no surprise that Leicestershire captain Mark Cosgrove decided Gloucestershire should bat without the need to toss a coin.
The morning session was shaded by the home side, although Leicestershire could argue that sharper catching would have helped their cause. Chris Dent was dropped at first slip by Horton off McKay before he’d scored, and again by Ackermann at second slip when he’d made 16, with Raine the unlucky bowler. In between he played a supporting role to Cameron Bancroft as the pair added 52 for the first wicket, the Australian picking the gaps through the vacant covers for almost an hour until he was bowled by Griffiths for 32.
McKay and Raine, both used from the Pavilion End, looked the most dangerous of Leicestershire’s quartet of seam bowlers and gave little away when Tavare joined Dent. The pair didn’t try to force the tempo, and ticked the scoreboard along with singles as the boundaries dried up. There were some anxious moments too, Tavare edging Jones short of second slip and surviving a strong appeal for lbw before Dent departed with lunch only ten minutes away, Jones bowling him off an inside edge for 20.
Gloucestershire headed for the pavilion at 93-2, van Buuren having helped himself to three boundaries in the last over before the interval, bowled by Neil Dexter. His gentle medium pace wasn’t seen again on the day, and in the afternoon session van Buuren and Tavare were to mirror the efforts of Dent and Bancroft in the first hour.
Both batted at their own pace. Tavare was characteristically patient, while van Buuren profited from anything he could cut or pull. The Leicestershire bowlers offered little that was of driveable length and Raine looked the sharpest, hurrying van Buuren and beating Tavare twice in one over without finding an edge.
The fifty partnership came up in 16 overs, and it wasn’t long before van Buuren completed his own half century from 65 balls with ten fours. A rare leg side half volley from McKay was clipped over square leg by Tavare, and either side of a tidy spell by skipper Cosgrove Gloucestershire’s third wicket pair took their stand past three figures, Tavare reaching fifty from 114 deliveries with four fours and a six.
A third chance went to ground in the slips just before tea – Ackermann spilling an edge by van Buuren off Jones when he had made 71 , and Gloucestershire chalked up their first batting point as the afternoon session drew to a close.
At that stage, even under cloudy skies, Gloucestershire might have been eyeing a score close to 300 by stumps, but two quick wickets after tea changed the picture. Resuming at 200-2, first van Buuren was caught behind off Raine for 79 and then Hankins (1) didn’t get his feet moving when reaching for a wide ball from Griffiths and Dearden, now at second slip, held the catch.
The jolt of two quick wickets made the remainder of the day a phase of watchful defence for Tavare and skipper Mustard. 20 overs came and went before Tavare squeezed Raine to fine leg for the only boundary in the final session, and Mustard survived a big appeal for a catch at the wicket off McKay shortly after Leicestershire took the second new ball. The ability of the overnight pair to see that off on Saturday morning may dictate the pattern of the match.
Leicestershire elected to bowl.
Christopher Dent | Cameron Bancroft | William Tavare | Graeme van Buuren | George Hankins | Phil Mustard | Jack Taylor | David Payne | Craig Miles | Liam Norwell | Christopher Liddle |
Paul Horton | Harry Dearden | Neil Dexter | Mark Cosgrove | Colin Ackermann | Mark Pettini | Edmund Eckersley | Benjamin Raine | Clinton McKay | Richard Jones | Gavin Griffiths |