Report: Gloucestershire v Warwickshire, County Championship
A valiant bowling effort from Warwickshire fell short as Gloucestershire secured a three-wicket triumph at Bristol’s Seat Unique Stadium.
Set 148 to win, the home side recovered from 30-4 to reach their target in 48.2 overs thanks to experienced opener Chris Dent and skipper Graeme van Buuren, who scored 64 and 49 respectively and staged a match-winning stand of 97.
It was an agonising end to a game that the visitors controlled for nearly two days. Having reached 274, with thanks to Dom Sibley’s unbeaten 120, the hosts fought back from 95 for five, to score 255 and give the Bears a slender 19-run lead.
It was set-up for Will Rhodes’ side to post a significant target on a spin friendly surface, but a late frenzy on day two shifted momentum. Closing on 58 for five, Bears reached 128 the following morning with the impressive Thomas Price taking career best figures of 8/27.
To Warwickshire’s credit, the bowlers dug in with Olly Hannon-Dalby (2), Jayant Yadav and Danny Briggs striking, before the impressive Dent and van Buuren partnership reached calmer waters.
The early dismissal of van Buuren post-Tea excited the field, as did the late wicket of Dent – both Yadav (4/47), but Gloucestershire steered themselves to the frustration of the travelling support.
For the Bears, the equation is simple – win against Hampshire at Edgbaston next week and hope that Kent fall to defeat in Canterbury against Somerset.
Jayant Yadav took his first Warwickshire five-fer on a dramatic second day of this compelling LV= Insurance County Championship match at Bristol’s Seat Unique Stadium.
Dismissed for 274 earlier in the day, Warwickshire bowled out Gloucestershire for 255 to establish a slender first-innings lead of 19, thanks largely to a superb return of 5-90 from the Indian off spinner.
But Price produced a blistering spell with the new ball to remove Dom Sibley, Sam Hain, Will Rhodes and Yadav, while David Payne accounted for Rob Yates as the Bears slumped to 58-5 at the close, a lead of just 77 with five second innings wickets in hand. Although Gloucestershire face having to bat last on a turning pitch which is expected to deteriorate further, they will now consider themselves favourites to register a first win of the season in red-ball cricket and plunge Warwickshire still deeper into the relegation mire.
Needing to beat bottom-of-the-table Gloucestershire to keep pace with fellow strugglers Kent, Warwickshire will take succour from the performance of Yadav, who accounted for key batsmen Chris Dent, James Bracey and Graeme van Buuren before returning to mop up the tail in the final session. For their part, Gloucestershire were indebted to Jack Taylor, who top-scored with 71 from 106 balls and shared in a sixth wicket stand of 90 with Graeme van Buuren to rescue the home side from the wreckage of 95-5.
But Tom Price then turned the contest on its head, pinning Sibley lbw without scoring, accounting for Sam Hain in identical fashion and then having Rhodes and Yadav caught at the wicket, while Payne bowled an out-of-sorts Yates.
Alex Davies managed to stop the rot and reached the close unbeaten on 41, and he and Jacob Bethell (3 not out) will be required to summon further resistance in the morning.
Dom Sibley scored a character-filled hundred to provide Warwickshire with a timely boost on the opening day of the LV= Insurance Championship battle with Gloucestershire at Bristol’s Seat Unique Stadium.
Under considerable duress at 138-6 midway through the afternoon session, the Midlands county was indebted to its former England opener, who scored a composed 105 not out and staged a restorative seventh wicket stand of 108 with Danny Briggs, who made a season’s best 65, to help Warwickshire reach the close on 255-8.
As well as Zafar Gohar bowled in claiming 4-59 from a marathon 32 overs to put Warwickshire under the pump, Gloucestershire had only themselves to blame for not ending the day on top, both Sibley and Briggs profiting from dropped catches early on in their innings.
Containing a modest count of 10 boundaries, Sibley’s supremely functional innings, his 18th first-class hundred, was hardly illuminated by an extravagant shot. Neither will it linger long in the memories of those who witnessed it. Yet it was exactly what was required by a Warwickshire side fighting to retain its First Division status.
Will Rhodes won the toss and opted to bat, only for events to take an unexpected turn on an apparently docile Bristol track. Rob Yates went off like a train, scoring almost exclusively in boundaries as he raced to 19 from 16 balls, before chancing his arm once too often and nicking to Jack Taylor at first slip off Ajeet Singh Dale in the fourth over with the score on 21.
Alex Davies then played down the wrong line to a David Payne in-swinger and saw his off stump knocked back as the defending champions slipped to 24-2 in the sixth over. Yet rather than impose themselves fully, Gloucestershire quite literally allowed a gilt-edged opportunity to slip between their fingers.
Deputising for Ben Charlesworth, substitute fielder Dom Goodman put down a straightforward chance at point to allow Sibley a life on 14, much to the chagrin of change bowler Tom Price, who generated additional lift from the Ashley Down Road End. Realising the potential enormity of his error, the chastened Goodman made a suitably slope-shouldered exit at the end of the over, by which time Sibley was already making good his escape.
In characteristically obdurate mood, he grafted his way to an unbeaten 35 from 76 balls by lunch, seemingly intent upon making the hosts pay dearly for their profligacy. Despite battling hard for a 74-ball 10, the usually dependable Sam Hain was unable to keep Sibley company until the interval, the former Australia Under-19 international succumbing to Zafar’s slow left arm and offering a looping catch to Charlesworth at short square leg via an inside edge as the visitors further subsided to 64-3 in the 27th over.
Under pressure to rebuild the innings, Sibley and Rhodes came closest to staging a meaningful top-order partnership in the early-afternoon sunshine, the fourth wicket pair adding a cautious 45 in 13.3 overs. Seldom troubled, Sibley inched his way a carefully crafted 50 from 114 balls to at least afford the visitors an underlying sense of reassurance.
Yet it proved short-lived, Gloucestershire’s brothers in arms joining forces to account for Rhodes, who nicked to Olly Price at second slip off the bowling of elder sibling Tom for 24. Returning at the Bristol Pavilion end, Zafar then made further in-roads, Gloucestershire’s leading wicket taker removing Jayant Yadav and Jacob Bethel in successive overs to reduce the visitors to 162-6. Playing back, Jayant was bowled in his crease for 17, while Bethel was well held by Charlesworth at short square leg for two, at which stage Warwickshire’s quest for batting bonus points was heavily dependent upon Sibley.
He at least found a willing ally in Danny Briggs, who effectively shored up one end while the opener continued to accumulate in measured fashion, these two ushering the Bears to 164-6 at tea. Briggs enjoyed a large slice of fortune shortly after the resumption when, having advanced his score to 19, Dale located his outside edge and Jack Taylor fumbled low down at first slip.
Gloucestershire were duly punished, Briggs cutting and driving his way to a swashbuckling 50 from 86 balls to propel Warwickshire to a first bonus point, crucially one more than that achieved by fellow strugglers Kent at home to Hampshire. The new ball was taken with the score on 219-6, yet Gloucestershire still lacked the cutting edge needed to make a breakthrough, a by now familiar shortcoming in a red-ball campaign which has seen them fail to register a single win in 12 attempts.
Held at slip late on in proceedings, Briggs was finally undone by a ball from Zafar that turned, terminating an enterprising innings that spanned 110 balls and included 12 boundaries. Manifestly uncomplicated in his approach and largely untroubled by the best the opposition had to offer, the disciplined Sibley carried on regardless, clipping Zafar through mid-wicket for two to bring up three figures via 237 balls shortly before the close.