Jack Taylor performed heroics in the final over of Gloucestershire's Royal London Cup clash against Durham at Scarborough, securing their first win in the competition of the 2021 campaign by four wickets.
The visitors required 336 to beat Durham in the contest at North Marine Road after Graham Clark scored a brilliant 140 for the hosts.
Two fine innings from Ben Charlesworth and James Bracey had manoevured Gloucestershire into a decent position. However, it looked to be in vain as late wickets appeared to have halted their charge. Taylor took on the mantle and turned the game in the final over, dispatching Chris Rushworth for three straight boundaries to deliver an unlikely victory to get them off the mark in Group A.
Durham were inserted by Chris Dent, but made solid progress in the sunshine on the coast. Clark and Lees continued their impressive start to the competition at the top of the order, passing fifty in the 11th over. Clark pushed the accelerator to record his third fifty in a row, scoring three successive boundaries off Jared Warner.
Gloucestershire could find no answer in their bid to make a breakthrough amid the controlled aggression of the hosts'. Lees compounded Durham's position of strength, working his way to his 13th List A half-century from 58 deliveries with a gentle nudge. Clark worked the hosts' past their next milestone of 150 with a blistering cover drive. The right-hander pressed on and notched his second century in a week, clipping Josh Shaw through mid-wicket to the fence for his 15th boundary.
Clark and Lees brought up their second stand worth 200 in the competition, leaving Durham with a great platform to attack in the closing overs. Clark's outstanding innings ended on 140 as he mistimed an on-drive as Dan Worrall and Taylor combined before the duo struck again to remove Lees for 85, offering Gloucestershire hope of holding Durham in check in the closing overs.
However, Sean Dickson ensured that Durham posted a score over 320 with an unbeaten 46, and Ned Eckersley blasted two sixes off the final over to end the innings on 335.
Gloucestershire made a bright start to their reply as Charlesworth found his range against Chris Rushworth and Jack Campbell. Chris Dent was given a life after being dropped on 10 by Clark, but Rushworth made the breakthrough to remove the Gloucestershire skipper for 20. Tom Lace and Charlesworth allowed the visitors to maintain their momentum, putting on a stand of 66 for the second wicket before Liam Trevaskis prised out Lace for 38.
Charlesworth continued his impressive outing, recording his first List A half-century from 79 balls. Bracey worked his way into form by finding gaps in the field, and the left-hander soon reached fifty from 45 balls. The hosts' bowlers were suffering from the same issues that plagued the Gloucestershire attack, failing to put the batsmen under pressure at the crease as runs flowed with ease during the middle overs.
Bracey and Charlesworth brought up their hundred partnership at a rapid rate to bring the visitors within 100 runs of their target. Charlesworth's attempt to up the ante resulted in his dismissal for a career-best 87. The wicket sparked a collapse in the order as Graeme van Buuren and the key man Bracey fell in quick succession to Trevaskis and Borthwick respectively.
Gloucestershire were given a glimmer of hope courtesy of two George Scott sixes against Paul van Meekeren, but his third heave ended in the gloves of Cameron Bancroft. The visitors required 16 off the final over, and Taylor was up for the challenge. After opting against a run for the first ball he smashed Rushworth over the rope twice along with a boundary to power his team over the line.
Gloucestershire won the toss and elected to bowl.
Durham Graham Clark | Alex Lees | Scott Borthwick | Cameron Bancroft | Edmund Eckersley | Sean Dickson | Liam Trevaskis | Luke Doneathy | Jack Campbell | Paul van Meekeren | Christopher Rushworth |
Gloucestershire Christopher Dent | Ben Charlesworth | James Bracey | Tom Lace | Graeme van Buuren | Jack Taylor | George Scott | Tom Smith | Jared Warner | Joshua Shaw | Daniel Worrall |