Gloucestershire secure 14 points from draw with Derbyshire

27 May 2024

Beau Webster completed a Gloucestershire home debut to remember before the rain-affected Vitality County Championship Division Two match with Derbyshire at the Seat Unique Stadium, Bristol petered out into a draw.

The Australian all-rounder, recruited primarily for T20 cricket, followed up his six-wicket haul in Derbyshire’s first innings of 526 by smashing 76 off just 79 balls as Gloucestershire extended their reply from an overnight 399 for four to 530 all out, Zak Chappell claiming five for 58.

James Bracey was dismissed for 144 and Graeme van Buuren 187 after extending their record-breaking fifth-wicket stand to 277. But too much time had been lost to the weather and the players shook hands at 4.53pm when Derbyshire declared their second innings on 166 for four, with a lead of 162.

Brooke Guest contributed 57, his second half-century of the match. The visitors took 15 points from the game and Gloucestershire 14.

Only 21 overs had been bowled on day three because of rain and a draw looked the only likely outcome when play began with Gloucestershire 127 runs adrift of Derbyshire’s first innings total. The first ball of the day from Anuj Dal brought a van Buuren boundary and a fourth batting bonus point for the hosts.

Five more runs had been added when the marathon stand between Bracey and van Buuren, who had resumed on 137 and 156 respectively, was finally broken, Bracey looking aghast as the ball trickled onto his stumps and dislodged the bails as he attempted to sweep off-spinner Alex Thomson.

Bracey had faced 190 balls and hit 20 fours and a six. The stand with van Buuren occupied 52.2 overs and bettered by 16 the previous Gloucestershire record fifth-wicket partnership of 261, put together by W.G.Grace and William Moberly against Yorkshire at Cheltenham 148 years ago.

Webster soon attacked with 2 fours in an over off Dal before a van Buuren single off Thomson brought Gloucestershire their fifth batting point. The skipper’s 236-ball knock, featuring 23 fours and 3 sixes, ended with the total on 475 when he drove at a good length ball from Sam Conners and edged to slip.

An unexpected clatter of wickets followed as Ed Middleton was caught behind fencing at Chappell, who followed up by removing Matt Taylor and Marchant de Lange with successive balls, the former caught at fine leg off a glance he timed too well and the latter lbw to a toe-crushing yorker.

Chappell was denied a hat-trick when his next delivery, also very full, crashed into Ajeet Singh Dale’s pads, but was rightly ruled to be missing leg stump. Gloucestershire’s number eleven went on to share a stand of 43 with Webster, who moved confidently to a run-a-ball fifty, celebrating with a big six over mid-wicket and into the car park off Conners.

The tall Aussie was last man out, skying a catch to long-off to give Daryn Dupavillon a wicket, having struck 8 fours and 3 sixes. Chappell’s figures were outstanding, but Derbyshire were left to reflect on taking only two bowling points, having wasted the second new ball on day three, and Gloucestershire’s slender lead of four runs offered little hope of a decisive result.

Only a clatter of Derbyshire second innings wickets could change that. It seemed even less likely when Marchant de Lange’s opening over with the new ball went for 14.

There was a glimmer of light for Gloucestershire when de Lange bowled Luis Reece off an inside edge for seven with the total on 25. But skipper David Lloyd cruised to 49, with 8 fours, before edging leg-spinner Middleton through to wicketkeeper Bracey.

In bright afternoon sunshine, Guest and Wayne Madsen steadily accumulated against slow bowlers Middleton and Ollie Price without the runs counting for much. By tea, Derbyshire had moved to 129 for two and led by 125, Guest having just reached his fifty off 100 balls, with 7 fours.

The abridged final session saw Madsen caught behind for 30 trying to reverse sweep Middleton and Guest snapped up at short-leg off Price after the pair had added 70 for the third wicket.

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