Specsavers County Championship - 16 September 2019
Gloucestershire won by 6 wickets
Venue: Blackfinch New Road
Worcestershire v Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire took a major step towards regaining their Specsavers County Championship Division One status for the first time in 14 years by completing a six wicket victory over Worcestershire at Blackfinch New Road.
The visitors resumed on 54-4 in pursuit of a 115 target after a nervy final session yesterday evening in the face of some disciplined bowling by the Worcestershire attack.
But today nightwatchman Josh Shaw and Miles Hammond found batting a lot easier and victory was secured within 50 minutes and 13.3 overs of the start of the day.
Hammond ended unbeaten on 35 and Shaw 38 with their partnership worth 74.
Gloucestershire may now need only a handful of bonus points from their final home game against Northamptonshire – depending on the results of ongoing matches featuring promotion rivals Sussex and Durham,
Today’s win ensured Gloucestershire completed a Championship double over their local rivals for the first time in 34 years.
Back to back wins over Leicestershire and Worcestershire in Cheltenham formed part of a sequence of four wins in the last five games to lift them from eighth into the top three.
Worcestershire will now turn their attention to trying to retain their Vitality Blast title at Edgbaston on Saturday after a miserable red ball campaign.
After being installed as one of the pre-season promotion favourites and winning the opening two games, the home side have only one of the next 11 and been beaten seven times.
The chronic lack of runs from their top order has been the major factor in their disappointing campaign after being relegated from Division One 12 months ago.
Their bowling has also lacked consistency and too often a poor session has allowed opponents off the hook when in the ascendancy.
But Worcestershire have been a different animal in the short format of the game when the likes of Moeen Ali, Wayne Parnell, Pat Brown and Brett D’Oliveira are expected to return.
Gloucestershire batted a lot more positively today and Shaw set the tone with a back foot drive for four of Ed Barnard.
Hammond on 17 survived a confident lbw shout against Barnard in one of the few scares of the morning.
It was Shaw who completed the victory with a cover drive to the boundary off Adam Finch.
Promotion-chasing Gloucestershire are in the driving seat heading into the third day of the Specsavers County Championship encounter with Worcestershire at Blackfinch New Road, needing 61 runs to win with 6 wickets remaining.
Gloucestershire will be on the verge of returning to the top flight for the first time in 14 years if they can complete a fifth win of the campaign tomorrow.
Tight and disciplined Worcestershire bowling reduced them to 54-4 from 29 overs by the close and with work to do if they are to get over the finishing line after a day in which 20 wickets fell.
Depending on other results, Gloucestershire may need only a handful of bonus points from next week’s home encounter with Northamptonshire if they overcome their local rivals.
Gloucestershire were indebted to major contributions with bat and ball from Ryan Higgins and David Payne.
A quickfire eighth wicket partnership of 62 wrestled the initiative away from Worcestershire this morning and earned their side a first innings advantage of 14.
Then the duo wreaked havoc with the new ball in reducing Worcestershire to 33-5 and they were eventually bowled out for 128 in 39.5 overs.
Higgins went onto eventually take his 50th Championship wicket of the campaign. He has also scored 957 Championship runs in a splendid season for the former Middlesex player.
But Adam Finch (2), Joe Leach (1) and Charlie Morris (1) ensured Gloucestershire had to fight for every run in the final two hours of the day.
In the morning session Worcestershire all-rounder Ed Barnard had dominated proceedings with the ball and finished with figures of 6-42 from 14.2 overs.
He added three more victims to his overnight tally as Gloucestershire, who resumed on 87-4, were dismissed for 221.
Barnard broke a stand of 72 in 24 overs between Ben Charlesworth (21) and Gareth Roderick (40) with the pair both lbw.
The England Lions all-rounder then held onto a stinging catch at gulley off Jack Taylor (4) from the bowling of Dillon Pennington before Higgins and Payne launched a counter-attack which produced a 50 partnership from just 33 balls.
The stand was worth 62 when Leach collected two wickets in two balls.
Higgins (42) nicked through to keeper Cox via an inside edge onto his thigh pad and Josh Shaw (0) was bowled first ball.
Shannon Gabriel survived the hat-trick ball and then Payne lofted Leach for six over long on to push Gloucestershire into the lead in an eventful over.
But Barnard returned to the attack bowl Payne (43) with the total on 235
When Worcestershire batted, Payne started the slump with the first ball of the innings when Daryl Mitchell (0) was trapped lbw with a delivery which cut back sharply.
Jack Haynes made a breezy 20 but then was strangled down the leg side with keeper James Bracey – substituting behind the stumps for the injured Gareth Roderick – taking a good catch away to his left.
Higgins made it two wickets in two deliveries as Alex Milton went lbw to complete a pair after looking to work to leg.
Riki Wessels (5) was bowled via the inside edge by Payne and then Ben Cox (1) walked across his stumps to Higgins and suffered a similar fate.
There was no let-up after Josh Shaw came into the attack with Barnard (6) the third leg before victim of the innings.
Opener Hamish Rutherford (19) had surveyed the carnage from the other end before he was run out after a mix-up with skipper Joe Leach by Chris Dent’s direct hit.
It became 85-8 when Dillon Pennington (6) became Shannon Gabriel’s first victim since linking up with Gloucestershire when also departing lbw.
Leach (10) provided Higgins with his 50th Championship wicket in the first over after tea.
Morris (29 not out) and Finch had added 38 for the last wicket before Gabriel castled the latter.
The wickets continued to tumble when Gloucestershire began their second innings.
James Bracey (2) nicked Leach to Cox, Tom Smith (5) was lbw to Morris and then Finch sent back Chris Dent (22) – also leg before – and Gareth Roderick (0) – at second slip – for a duck.
Ryan Higgins claimed four wickets on the opening day in Worcester as Gloucestershire head into the second day of the match on 87-4.
Earlier on in the contest, Riki Wessels played a major role with 72 in enabling Worcestershire to recover from 71-5 to total 221 all out after they had been put in via an uncontested toss in seamer-friendly conditions.
Barnard had accompanied him in a crucial partnership of 82 and then came on first change and accounted for openers James Bracey and Chris Dent plus Miles Hammond as Gloucestershire closed on 87-4.
Wessels mixed trademark strokes with responsible batting after Ryan Higgins (18-1-55-4) and David Payne (16-3-57-3) had given Gloucestershire early ascendancy.
Wessels looked on course for a century until he attempted an aggressive stroke and was well held by Ben Charlesworth off the bowling of Josh Shaw.
Worcestershire had encountered early difficulties against Gloucestershire’s new ball attack of Payne and Higgins following an hour’s delay to the start after morning drizzle.
Under leaden skies, Payne made the first breakthrough when Daryl Mitchell (10) fell to a fine catch taken above his head by Tom Smith at third slip.
The first delivery of the next over accounted for Rutherford (7) who looked to work a delivery from Higgins on the on-side and was lbw.
Two balls later Alex Milton (0) shouldered arms to the former Middlesex all-rounder and was bowled.
Jack Haynes (8) was undone by a ball from Payne which swung back in and trapped him lbw.
Smith produced another excellent catch, low down at third slip, to account for Ben Cox (2) off Higgins.
Barnard was a staunch ally to Wessels who completed a 58 ball half century.
The England Lions all-rounder was eventually dismissed in Charlesworth’s first over as keeper Gareth Roderick held onto a low chance
Leach struck a rapid 26 before he perished at extra over off Shaw and then Dillon Pennington (9) became Higgins fourth scalp when he was bowled.
Adam Finch and Charlie Morris added 25 useful runs for the final before the latter on 17 aimed a big hit at Payne and was bowled.
Barnard came into the attack first change and immediately broke through as Bracey (23) was caught behind and Dent (18) nicked to Haynes at third slip.
Mitchell collected his first Championship wicket of the season when Tom Smith (9) was lbw and Barnard enjoyed a third scalp when Miles Hammond (5) provided Cox with another catch.
Gareth Roderick and Charlesworth saw Gloucestershire through to the close without further alarm in adding an unbroken 31.
Umpire Nick Cook, who was suffering from a knee problem, was replaced by Mike Burns mid-way through the afternoon session.
Gloucestershire elected to bowl.
Daryl Mitchell | Hamish Rutherford | Jack Haynes | Alex Milton | Mattheus Wessels | Oliver Cox | Edward Barnard | Joseph Leach | Charles Morris | Adam Finch | Dillon Pennington |
Christopher Dent | James Bracey | Miles Hammond | Gareth Roderick | Tom Smith | Ryan Higgins | Ben Charlesworth | Jack Taylor | David Payne | Shannon Gabriel | Joshua Shaw |
|Gloucestershire win by 6 wickets||Worcestershire second innings|
128 all out
|Gloucestershire second innings|
115 - 4
|Worcestershire First Innings||How out||Runs||Minutes||Balls||4s||6s|
|Extras||5b 11lb 16nb 0p 0w||32|
Fall of wickets
|Gloucestershire First Innings||How out||Runs||Minutes||Balls||4s||6s|
|Extras||5b 11lb 8nb 0p 4w||28|
Fall of wickets
|Worcestershire Second Innings||How out||Runs||Minutes||Balls||4s||6s|
|Extras||9b 9lb 8nb 0p 0w||26|
Fall of wickets
|Gloucestershire Second Innings||How out||Runs||Minutes||Balls||4s||6s|
|Extras||6b 1lb 6nb 0p 0w||13|
Fall of wickets