LV= County Championship - 15 April 2021
Gloucestershire won by 8 wickets
Somerset v Gloucestershire
James Bracey displayed the temperament, as well as the talent, of a future England player as Gloucestershire wrapped up an eight-wicket LV=County Championship win over Somerset at Taunton.
The 23-year-old left-hander added an ice-cool 83 not out to his first innings century and shared a match-clinching second-wicket stand of 79 with Kraigg Brathwaite to help his side to a comprehensive victory.
Brathwaite marked his Gloucestershire debut with a solid 36 and together the pair stifled the much-vaunted home seam attack.
The visitors reached their target of 153 off 41.1 overs just before lunch, with Tom Lace uneaten on 20, and took 22 points, to Somerset’s six.
Gloucestershire began the day on 28 for one, needing 125 for victory, with nine wickets in hand, and would have been heartened by the clear blue skies over the Cooper Associates County Ground.
Bracey had shown his mettle the previous evening when taming a fired-up Craig Overton and was soon in control again as Somerset sought the early wickets that might create a contest.
The home side were hoping a couple of breakthroughs in the opening overs would create nerves in the Gloucestershire dressing room.
But the pitch only served to show what a poor effort Somerset’s second innings score of 149 had been.
While Overton and Lewis Gregory beat the bat on occasions, Bracey and Brathwaite were soon confident enough to play their shots.
The West Indies captain struck four boundaries in his 62-ball innings before aiming a fifth off a wide ball from Marchant de Lange and getting an inside edge onto his middle stump.
By then, Gloucestershire only required 64 runs. But de Lange, boosted by the wicket, summoned up pace and bounce to test new batsman Lace.
Bracey kept the momentum of the innings going with a swept four off Jack Leach, who found little assistance in the surface for his left-arm spin, and went to his fifty off 84 balls, with eight boundaries.
There was even a reverse swept four off League as Bracey and Gloucestershire closed in rapidly on their target. A more orthodox and delicate sweep off the England spinner brought another boundary.
The product of Bristol club cricket was by now in total command. Somerset turned to the wholehearted Overton for one last throw of the dice. He beat Bracey’s outside edge, but to no avail.
It was Gloucestershire’s first Championship win at Taunton for 28 years and the winning runs, a Bracey boundary off Leach, sparked jubilant celebrations. It was the 13th four of his 122-ball innings.
For Somerset, it was a first defeat in red ball cricket at their home ground since 2017.
Gloucestershire skipper Chris Dent said: "Everyone in the dressing room is thrilled. We came here last year and were well beaten, but learned a bit about ourselves and probably were not quite ready as a side to take on the top teams.
"Now after a lot of hard work in the winter we are that much better prepared to cope with the pressure you are put under. James Bracey handled it brilliantly and may not play many better innings for us than the two here.
"But to win games you have to take 20 wickets and our bowlers are putting in so much effort. We don't like looking too far forward, but the aim before the season started was a top two finish in our group and that is still very much the case."
Gloucestershire’s seam attack put them in sight of a first County Championship win at Taunton since 1993 on the third day of the match with Somerset at the Cooper Associates County Ground.
With a first innings lead of just three runs, the home side crashed to 149 all out in their second innings in bright sunshine on a decent pitch.
Ryan Higgins led the way with four for 29, well supported by Matt Taylor (two for 27) and debutant Dom Goodman (two for 19), as only James Hildreth (64) of the Somerset batsmen showed some form.
Faced with a victory target of 153 and ten overs left in the day, Gloucestershire progressed to 28 for one, losing Chris Dent, who played on to Craig Overton attempting to withdraw his bat.
At the start of the day, the visitors could add only eight runs to their overnight total of 301 for eight, David Payne offering a return catch to Marchant de Lange, who then ended Matt Taylor’s career-best contribution of 56 by pinning him lbw with a full delivery.
Somerset were soon in trouble as Tom Lammonby registered a third successive duck, edging Higgins through to wicketkeeper James Bracey.
It was 18 for two when Tom Abell fell leg-before pushing forward to Higgins and 36 for three when Tom Banton guided the last ball of Taylor’s first over to Dent at third slip.
George Bartlett departed first ball, caught behind off a full swinging delivery from Goodman and at lunch Somerset were in a deep hole at 47 for four.
By the time play was paused at 2.50pm to mark the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral, Gloucestershire had struck three more blows.
Steve Davies edged a back-foot defensive shot off Payne to George Hankins at second slip and Higgins produced a good delivery that nipped back to bowl Craig Overton between bat and pad.
When Lewis Gregory miscued off the back foot and lofted a simple catch to mid-wicket off Taylor, Somerset were in disarray at 88 for seven.
Hildreth was unbeaten on 36 when play halted and the experienced batsman shouldered major responsibility for his side’s fading hopes.
At 3pm both teams, coaching staffs and umpires lined up on the outfield for a minute’s silence in memory of Prince Philip.
When play resumed at 4.10pm, Hildreth and Josh Davey offered the stiffest resistance of Somerset’s poor batting display.
Hildreth went to a patient half-century off 124 balls, with 7 fours, and the pair had added 54 in 25 overs when he fell lbw, looking to cut a delivery from Goodman that was too close to him for the shot.
Graeme van Buuren’s left-arm spin quickly sent back de Lange, leg-before for a duck and Davey was taken at first slip off Higgins for 22 to end a sorry batting effort.
Gloucestershire interim head coach Ian Harvey said: "There is a good feeling among the boys about tomorrow, but no one is underestimating how tough it will be against this Somerset bowling attack.
"They are going to put us under pressure and we have to deal with that. It is a decent pitch, but scoring can become difficult as the ball gets softer.
"We are all delighted with the way Dom Goodman has bowled on debut. We had a couple of injuries and he only came into the squad a couple of days before the game. For a young lad to do so well against one of the top teams in the country is fantastic."
James Bracey’s sixth first class century led Gloucestershire to 301 for eight in reply to Somerset’s 312 on the second day of the LV=County Championship match at the Cooper Associates County Ground.
Combining solid technique, sound shot selection and a high degree of concentration, 23-year-old Bracey enhanced his England prospects by contributing 118 in an innings spanning 12 minutes short of six hours.
Chris Dent made 50 and Matt Taylor a career-best 53 not out, while Craig Overton (three for 60) was the pick of the Somerset bowling attack.
Gloucestershire began the day on 13 without loss, with Dent and Kraigg Brathwaite in positive mood.
They took the score to 41 before the West Indies captain was pinned lbw for 18 by a ball from Overton that nipped back off the seam.
Dent struck Lewis Gregory for three successive boundaries, moving to his third half-century in as many innings, off 70 balls.
But, without addition, the Gloucestershire captain aimed to work a straight ball from Marchant de Lange towards the short leg-side boundary and edged catch to wicketkeeper Steve Davies.
It was de Lange’s first wicket for Somerset. He produced some pacey short balls, but Bracey and Tom Lace took Gloucestershire to 97 for two at lunch.
The afternoon saw Somerset’s seamers, aided by some tight spin bowling from Jack Leach, exert greater control.
Seeking to break loose, Lace reached to drive a wide ball from Overton and lifted a catch to Tom Banton at cover.
Bracey pulled a six over fine leg off Overton. But, with the score on 119, Graeme van Buuren edged de Lange to second slip where Gregory held a diving catch.
Nothing seemed to perturb Bracey, who looked increasingly assured as he reached a half-century off 115 balls. Ryan Higgins contributed 23 to a stand of 41 before edging Josh Davey to first slip.
George Hankins fell lbw on the back foot to de Lange. But Bracey remained rock-like and was unbeaten on 79 at tea, taken with Gloucestershire 189 for six.
George Scott went on the attack at the start of the final session, launching a big straight six off Leach.
But after helping Bracey add 26, Scott edged Gregory to second slip where Overton pouched a comfortable catch.
Bracey reached a chanceless hundred by glancing Davey to the fine leg boundary. He had faced 208 deliveries and hit 14 fours and a six.
Somerset took the second new ball at 217 for seven, but were frustrated as Taylor weighed in with a hugely valuable maiden first class half-century, made off 92 balls, with 7 fours and a six.
Bracey’s vigil finally ended when he edged Gregory to second slip. Prior to that, his only problem had been a broken bat on 107.
Gloucestershire centurion James Bracey said: "It meant a lot scoring a hundred in a local derby and I've already had a few messages from my friends in club cricket.
"My former team-mates at Winterbourne Cricket Club were all Gloucestershire fans, but at Bristol Cricket Club it was more mixed and I may have upset some of the Somerset supporters!
"After what happened here last season, we all arrived determined to give a good account of ourselves and we are right in the game with a chance of winning it.
"I'm delighted for Matt Taylor, who played really well and produced a very important innings for us."
Dom Goodman showcased his talent on debut as Gloucestershire bowl out Somerset for 312 on the opening day of the LV=County Championship match at Taunton.
A daunting challenge for a 20-year-old, Goodman bowled economically and with a level head in the first meeting of Gloucestershire and Somerset in the County Championship since 2007.
Somerset were on the ropes early but Steve Davies came to the rescue of the home side with his team in trouble at 80 for four. The experienced wicketkeeper-batsman hit a stylish 87, sharing a sixth-wicket stand of 116 with Craig Overton, who made 54.
Seamers David Payne, Ryan Higgins and Matt Taylor claimed three wickets each. In three overs before the close, Gloucestershire replied with 13 for no wicket.
Gloucestershire all-rounder Ryan Higgins said:
"The first new ball did quite a bit off the pitch, but the second one didn't do as much. In the end I think we might have bowled them out for less, but to take ten wickets in the day was still decent for us.
"It was great to see Dom Goodman get his maiden first class wicket and it will give him a lot of confidence going forward. He is a big lad who makes use of his height and got good bounce out of the pitch.
"We are all looking forward to watching Kraigg Brathwaite bat tomorrow. He is a really laid-back character, who goes about his work in a quiet fashion and he is going to be a great influence on our dressing room."
The visitors had won the toss and taken an early grip. The last ball of the second over, sent down by Higgins, saw Tom Lammonby edge to George Hankins at second slip.
Tom Banton began confidently, but with the total on 42 he played Payne’s final delivery of the 11th over onto his stumps and departed for 29.
Skipper Tom Abell looked untroubled moving to 26, only to fall lbw to Taylor shouldering arms.
When James Hildreth was well caught low down at square leg by Tom Lace to give Taylor a second wicket, Somerset were in danger of collapse.
It was 94 for four at lunch and things continued to go well for Gloucestershire when George Bartlett fell lbw to Higgins for 22 to make it 110 for five.
But Davies had made good use of the short boundary on the town side of the ground to gain early momentum and soon appeared to have more time than his team-mates to play his shots.
A pulled six off Taylor and some attractive strokes through the covers helped take him to a fluent half-century off 92 balls.
Overton contributed some meaty blows as the pair brought up a hundred partnership in 21 overs.
By tea, they had taken the score to 222 for five, Overton having reached his fifty off 66 deliveries, with 8 fours.
Higgins broke the stand when Overton edged to Hankins in the slips and at 226 for six Somerset still had work to do.
Lewis Gregory was caught at backward point off Payne, with the second new ball. And when Davies was bowled off a bottom edge by the same bowler, having struck 12 fours and a six, it looked like being Gloucestershire’s day.
But Josh Davey and Marchant de Lange, last man out for 37, hit sixes off Payne in a breezy stand of 48 that brought a third batting point before Davey became a maiden first class victim for Dom Goodman.
Gloucestershire gave debuts to new overseas signing Kraigg Brathwaite and tall seamer Goodman, a 20-year-old Exeter University student, selected in place of the injured Josh Shaw.
Gloucestershire won the toss and elected to bowl.
Thomas Lammonby | Thomas Banton | Thomas Abell | James Hildreth | George Bartlett | Steven Davies | Craig Overton | Lewis Gregory | Joshua Davey | Marchant de Lange | Matthew Leach |
Christopher Dent | Kraigg Brathwaite | James Bracey | Tom Lace | Graeme van Buuren | Ryan Higgins | George Hankins | George Scott | David Payne | Matthew Taylor | Dominic Goodman |
|Gloucestershire win by 8 wickets||Somerset second innings|
149 all out
|Gloucestershire second innings|
156 - 2
|Somerset First Innings||How out||Runs||Minutes||Balls||4s||6s|
|Extras||0b 8lb 2nb 0p 0w||10|
Fall of wickets
|Graeme van Buuren||8||3||23||0|
|Gloucestershire First Innings||How out||Runs||Minutes||Balls||4s||6s|
|Extras||0b 3lb 2nb 0p 0w||5|
Fall of wickets
|Marchant de Lange||21||3||63||4|
|Somerset Second Innings||How out||Runs||Minutes||Balls||4s||6s|
|Extras||0b 9lb 4nb 0p 0w||13|
Fall of wickets
|Graeme van Buuren||9||3||17||1|
|Gloucestershire Second Innings||How out||Runs||Minutes||Balls||4s||6s|
|Extras||4b 0lb 2nb 0p 2w||8|
Fall of wickets
|Marchant de Lange||6||2||13||1|