Match Preview: Gloucestershire v Leicestershire

14 July 2019

The Fergal O’Brien Cheltenham Cricket Festival kicks off tomorrow with a Specsavers County Championship match between Gloucestershire and Leicestershire.

The Festival provides ample opportunity for The Shire to turn things around after successive defeats to Glamorgan and Middlesex. Despite those losses, Gloucestershire lie just 22 points behind Derbyshire, who occupy the third promotion position in the table.

Head Coach Richard Dawson knows exactly what a couple of wins can do and is determined not to pass the opportunity up. “A good Festival this year could see our position in the table change dramatically,” he said. “It is so tight that a couple of wins could put us up among the top three or four.”

Bottom club Leicestershire are the first Championship opponents at Cheltenham, the other being Worcestershire, who are level on points with Gloucestershire.

Gloucestershire will be forced into making at least one change to the side that faced Middlesex as James Bracey is in action for the England Lions facing Australia A. Ryan Higgins was the twelfth man for the England squad but will be available to play for Gloucestershire. David Payne will be rested for the opening game of the Festival.

Dawson's side will be bolstered by the addition of 20-year-old bowler Ethan Bamber, on loan from Middlesex. "We are delighted to have Ethan in the squad for the next couple of weeks. He played against us last week so we already know how we can potentially ustilise him," Dawson said.

Tom Price is in the preliminary squad for the game against Leicestershire after impressing with the second XI. Price will be able to draw on the experience of facing Australia A earlier in the month.

Gloucestershire's 13-man squad for tomorrow's game:

Dent, Hammond, Roderick, Howell, Higgins, van Buuren, Charlesworth, J Taylor, Smith, M Taylor, Sayers, Bamber, Price.  

No one will be looking forward to the match more than Gloucestershire captain Chris Dent, who is making a habit of hitting big runs against Leicestershire’s attack.

Last season Gloucestershire won the corresponding home game by 328 runs at Bristol, Dent making an unbeaten double century in the second match after the Cheltenham Festival.

This summer’s clash between the sides at Grace Road was drawn, Leicestershire opener Hassan Azad making a hundred in both innings, while Dent hit 176 and Ryan Higgins 199 as Gloucestershire posted 571 all out.

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