First win in sight for Glos on final day v Hampshire

7 May 2022

Gloucestershire require 257 more runs to win on the final day v Hampshire after finishing day three at The Ageas Bowl on 111/2.

Aneurin Donald with a solid 89 led Hampshire to an overall lead of 367 at the end of the host's second innings in Division One of the LV= Insurance County Championship clash.

The Shire's hopes of a possible win were boosted by the performance of opener George Scott, who moved to an unbeaten career-best 70 to help his side to 111 for two at the close, with 257 still to win and all three results possible. 

Donald’s motto is “no other way but forward”, he’s needed it during batches of operation, recovery and rehabilitation for two separate ACL injuries in the last two years. It was equally applicable to the approach he needed when he arrived at the crease with his side 65 for seven.

Hampshire’s melaise from the previous evening continued when James Vince nicked Ryan Higgins off four balls into the day before Nick Gubbins followed suit. Higgins’ two for 20 and Mohammad Amir’s miserly run an over were the catalyst for Gloucestershire’s early carnage – both ended the innings with three-fors.

Ben Brown under edged Dom Goodman to the keeper, Liam Dawson slogged to deep square and Keith Barker tamely chipped across the line to mid on – Hampshire 103 for nine, and the lead 266.

The extra half an hour was taken which sparked Donald into life. The former Glamorgan batter had to wait 962 days between facing first-team deliveries before a disappointing six-ball single in the first innings. He wasn’t prepared to waste his long-awaited opportunity a second time.

Donald first injured his knee during a post-season inter-club five-a-side football match in 2019. After a lonely recovery in lockdown, he flirted with the idea of featuring in 2020 but avoided the risk, instead he prepared for a 2021 comeback.

Everything appeared on course for that but after he felt his knee go again during an innocuous piece of fielding during a pre-season friendly last year; another frustratingly lengthy lay-off was necessary as he returned to square one.

His knee might have twice failed him but his ability remained. 71 off 28 balls bullying Solent University students, followed by 109 off 73 and 143 off 117 in the Second XI Championship provided the backdrop for his return; and the devastation he rained down on the Ageas Bowl prior to lunch proved he was still capable at the highest domestic level.

A trio of fours off Higgins warmed him up before three successive maximums off his legs and onto the Eastern Bern, the first of which bring up his fifty, sent him into overdrive and turn the game once again back towards Hampshire. In total, 56 runs came in the additional half-hour, with the usually aggressive Fuller allowing Donald to obliterate the bowling – albeit with two lives on 30 and 68.

Post lunch was a more sedate generation of runs for the duo, both unusually low in the order due to nightwatchmen. The stand ended when Jared Warner pumped in a high bouncer which Donald took on and skied. His and Fuller’s efforts meant Hampshire set Gloucestershire what would be their second-highest successful fourth-innings chase.

Scott, who is deputising at the top of the order for the injured Chris Dent, and Marcus Harris appeared in little danger either side of tea, with the sun coming out to further assist the free-flowing Scott and tenacious Harris.

Mohammad Abbas broke the 54-run stand by castling Harris with one which kept low and James Bracey was then pinned going back to Dawson. But Scott continued to chip away, passing fifty for the second time in first-class cricket and moving past his previous best of 55.

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