County Championship
County Championship Logo Sun 19 August, 11:00

Edgbaston, Birmingham

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Championship Report: Warwickshire v Gloucestershire

Day Two: Close of play report

Warwickshire  emphatically reasserted themselves at the top of the Specsavers County Championship Division Two by crushing Gloucestershire by an innings and 47 runs inside two days at Edgbaston.

Gloucestershire’s batting folded pitifully for the second time in successive days as they followed their first innings 127 with 103 all out.

The home seam-attack, led by Ryan Sidebottom with four for 42, ruthlessly exploited some feckless batting to fully exploit a dominant position earned by the skilful work of opening batsman Will Rhodes.

The former Yorkshire player struck 137 from 233 balls with 16 fours, a superb innings spanning five and a half hours in overcast, seamer-friendly conditions, to lift Warwickshire to 277.

His third championship century of the season underpinned an important win for the Division Two leaders. Defeat to Middlesex at Lord’s in their previous match had allowed the pursuers to close in, but this two-day win put the chasing pack back under pressure.

Following a dreadful all-round performance on the first day, Gloucestershire were at least much improved with the ball on the second and took four wickets in the morning session. After Warwickshire resumed on 170 for two, Craig Miles dismissed Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott in five balls. It was fine bowling as the 24-year-old jagged one back in to knock out Bell’s off and middle stumps then moved one away to find Trott outside-edge.

Rhodes’s application was faultless but partners came and went.

Sam Hain started with two sumptuous drives but reached only (25, 51 balls) before lifting Chris Liddle to point. Tim Ambrose sliced Miles to first slip before Rhodes was finally uprooted, bowled on the charge by spinner George Drissell.

Jeetan Patel was bowled by Matt Taylor then Miles completed his 12th first-class five-for by taking a return catch from Olly Hannon-Dalby and having Sidebottom caught in the gully next ball. He finished with five for 69.

Gloucestershire’s second innings was soon damaged when Miles Hammond cut Sidebottom to gully. It then lurched from 27 for one to 27 for four as three wickets fell in nine balls. Chris Dent edged Sidebottom to second slip before Keith Barker had James Bracey caught behind and induced Gareth Roderick to play on.

Ryan Higgins edged Sidebottom behind and debutant Ben Charlesworth, having played correctly for five from 31 balls, edged Hannon-Daly to second slip just before tea.

Just before tea, Benny Howell (32, 36 balls) had his off-stump flattened by Chris Wright and the end came quickly in the final session as Sidebottom bowled Miles, Matt Taylor hoiked Wright to long leg and Drissell edged Rhodes to second slip.

Day One: Close of play report

Warwickshire totally dominated the opening day of their Specsavers County Championship match against Gloucestershire at Edgbaston, closing on 171 for two after bowling the visitors out for 127.

On their first championship visit to Birmingham for ten years, Gloucestershire must have wished they had stayed away longer after their illness and injury-affected side folded spectacularly in the afternoon session.

Experienced seamer Chris Wright led the demolition with five for 32 as the visitors, having reached 52 without loss, lost all ten wickets for 75 runs in 27.4 overs. Well though Wright and his colleagues bowled, they were abetted by some feckless batting with several wickets due to shots more suited to white-ball cricket.

The Division One leaders then built ruthlessly on their bowlers’ work as openers  Will Rhodes (101 not out, 146 balls, 15 fours) and Dominic Sibley (65, 121 balls, 11 fours) took them past Gloucestershire’s score.

There was no clue as to the carnage ahead as Gloucestershire openers Miles Hammond and Chris Dent put 50 on the board but then they fell in successive overs. Hammond edged Ryan Sidebottom behind and Dent (35, 61 balls, seven fours) was trapped lbw by Jeetan Patel.

A stand of 49 between James Bracey and Benny Howell took the score to a respectable 101 for two but Patel’s dismissal of the former, lbw, just before lunch paved the way for a post-lunch dismantling of the innings.

Wright, who will join Leicestershire on a two-year contract after this season, started the collapse in the first over of the afternoon when Howell lifted carelessly to point. The seamer then knocked out Ryan Higgins’ off-stump before Keith Barker removed Ben Charlesworth, caught behind, and Craig Miles who pulled to mid-wicket.

Miles was not the first batsman to contribute to his own downfall and nor was he the last as George Drissell lifted Wright to mid-off. That left the former Middlesex and Essex seamer within sight of his 11th first-class five-for which he duly completed by making a mess of Matt Taylor’s stumps and trapping Gareth Roderick lbw.

Gloucestershire having scored 21 for seven in 13 overs after lunch, Rhodes and Sibley rattled up 69 in 16 overs up to tea to complete perhaps the most one-sided session in the history of the county championship.

The opening pair added 161 before Sibley inside-edged Higgins on to his pad and was caught at gully. Nightwatchman Wright soon fell lbw to Chris Liddle but Rhodes posted his third championship century of the season in the penultimate over of near-perfect day for as the Division Two leaders.

Patel: "Guys are champing at the bit"

Warwickshire will resume their Specsavers County Championship campaign, at home to Gloucestershire, tomorrow with captain Jeetan Patel calling on his players to show “energy and desire” to strengthen their place at the top of the table.

The Bears sit top of Division One, seven points clear of Sussex and 13 ahead of Kent, having won five of their first eight games.

We have got to be the team which shows the energy and desire you need to get on a roll at the business end of the season.

Jeetan Patel

Now they face their only meeting with Gloucestershire this season (they do not play them away in the championship) knowing that another win would provide a significant stride towards promotion.

Patel will go into the game with a personal milestone within touching distance – he needs just six wickets to reach 800 in first-class cricket. But his focus is solely on trying to draw another win from his team which will include several players particularly raring to go after missing the Vitality Blast.

“It will help us that we will have quite a few guys coming back in who were not involved in the T20 so are fresh and hungry to play first-team cricket,” Patel said. “There has not even been that much second-team cricket during the T20s so these guys are champing at the bit, as we saw in the 2nds game last week with Liam Banks getting 150 and Jonathan Trott, Dom Sibley and Will Rhodes all scoring runs.

“There are six games left and, starting against Gloucestershire, we have got to be the team which shows the energy and desire you need to get on a roll at the business end of the season.”

Warwickshire are in a strong position in Division One which would have been stronger still had they not suffered a narrow defeat to Middlesex at Lord’s in the last championship match, played amid the Blast.

“Losing against Middlesex hurt because we played some very good cricket during the game,” Patel said. “We also missed a few opportunities to seize the initiative along the way but that’s championship cricket – you are not going to come out on top all the time.

“We are in a good position in the league and that’s because we have done a lot of things right in the championship this season and the guys have won a lot of key sessions. We’ve won five out of eight because the guys have nailed a lot of important sessions and taken those chances and that’s what we’ve got to try to do in the remaining games.”

The changing times of the wicket celebration

Wicket celebrations of old were much more restrained than in 2018 – a pat on the back perhaps, or a polite handshake.

But on June 18th, 1895, Warwickshire bowler Alf Glover leaped in the air and pirouetted with joy – a celebration which elicited as much comment as the wicket did.

Glover’s elation was understandable. It’s not every day that you dismiss WG Grace. Brian Halford reports.

“Receipts for the match were £559 – the equivalent of £69,850 today.”

The year 1895 was a momentous one for Warwickshire – their second season as a first-class county and first in the county championship.

Crowds were big and bigger than ever in mid-June when Gloucestershire paid their inaugural championship visit to Edgbaston. Spectators flocked to see the legendary Dr WG Grace, the greatest figure in cricket and, what’s more, in the batting form of his life.

A month short of his 47th birthday, Gloucestershire captain Grace, was in the midst of a sensational return to form which was comfortably the national sports story of the year. He had scored 1,000 runs in May, including 288 against Somerset at Bristol, 257 against Kent at Gravesend and 169 v Middlesex at Lord’s.

His innings against Somerset was his 100th first-class century and if the manner of its arrival, Sammy Woods obligingly throwing up a full-toss for WG to collect the runs he needed to move to 100, hinted that more than a few runs had been donated along the way, there was no doubting Grace’s enduring charisma.

So Gloucestershire’s visit to Birmingham attracted bumper crowds to Edgbaston. Receipts for the match were £559 – the equivalent of £69,850 today. And after the great man first fielded for 182.4 overs while Warwickshire piled up 407 (Dick Lilley 135, Glover 78) immense was the excitement when he strode out of the pavilion to open the batting in the visitors’ reply.

Grace’s astonishing return to form, closing in on his 50th year, was being monitored far and wide by his legions of admirers – and not just on the field was WG filling his boots. Those admirers had organised a National Testimonial with £5,000 raised by the Daily Telegraph alone by means of a shilling subscription among its readers.

Against championship newcomers Warwickshire, another century appeared a formality and Grace duly advanced smoothly to 43 in an hour but then on came 23-year-old Glover. An amateur from the Potteries, Glover was a fast-medium bowler who could be hot-headed, once reacting to some stick from spectators by hurling the ball at them.

This time there was only cheering as he nipped one away from the Bearded One and the nick landed in the gloves of wicketkeeper Dick Lilley.

Glover, principally a batsman, would take only 49 wickets in his career of 149 first-class matches – but one of them was the most egregious of all. No wonder he leapt for joy.

All out for 207, Gloucestershire followed on and second time round Grace made only 11, again falling caught-behind, this time to medium-pacer Syd Santall. Gloucestershire were bowled out for 176 and Warwickshire won by an innings and 24 runs, taking from the match, under the strange scoring system of the day, one point while Gloucestershire took minus one.

Grace went on to close his mighty, 44-year career at 54,211 first-class runs and 124 centuries but he invariably found Warwickshire’s bowlers a tough nut to crack. Just one of his tons came against them – for London County at Crystal Palace in 1902.

Fortunately for WG, his nemesis Glover did not play in that game, but Alf went on to enjoy a decent career himself.

He captained Warwickshire for two seasons (having also skipper Leamington’s football team) – during which time, it’s fair to assume, he surely dined out a time or two on the day he dismissed WG…

Opposition Overview: Warwickshire vs Gloucestershire – Specsavers County Championship 2018

Gloucestershire Overview

Specsavers County Championship: Division 2 (2017 performance – 6th)

Royal London One-Day Cup: South Group (2017 performance – 7th)

Vitality Blast: South Group (2017 performance – 9th)

Captains: Chris Dent (County Championship and Royal London One-Day Cup), Michael Klinger (Vitality Blast)

Head Coach: Richard Dawson

Overseas Players: Dan Worrall (County Championship and Royal London One-Day Cup) Andrew Tye (Vitality Blast)

Ins and Outs: In: Ryan Higgins (Middlesex) Out: Brandon Gilmour, Patrick Grieshaber, Phil Mustard

Man on a Mission

Chris Dent – Appointed captain for four-day and 50-over cricket by his beloved home county for the first time, the 26-year-old batsman will be desperately keen to make his mark with a successful campaign. A vitally important cog in Gloucestershire’s batting machine, Dent will be determined to contribute big runs while leading the team in a characteristically laid-back style. He has refused to set specific targets, but wants to see progress in all three competitions after a season of under-achievement in 2017. Maybe there will be a wicket or two with his occasional left-arm spin as in previous years to boost the cause.

One to Watch

Dan Worrall – Head coach Richard Dawson is expecting big things of his latest overseas signing, who looks sure to strengthen a pace attack, which relied too much on Liam Norwell in Championship cricket last season. South Australia seamer Worrall, who will also play in the Royal London One-Day Cup, comes highly recommended as a bowler capable of suiting English conditions. He bowls a full length and hits the pitch hard, according to Michael Klinger and Cameron Bancroft, who have played against him back home. At the age of 26, Worrall has six seasons of State cricket under his belt. He finished second leading wicket-taker in the 2015-16 Sheffield Shield with 44 victims and has been making a strong finish to the current Australian season.

Local Hero

James Bracey – Bristol-born and a product of Winterbourne Cricket Club, as well as Gloucestershire’s Academy, the 20-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman made his Championship debut in the final match of the 2016 season, having already played first class cricket for Loughborough University against Australian Universities. But it was in the last four matches of last summer that left-hander Bracey began to make a significant impact, with scores including 63, 156, 82 not out and 44 in the space of six innings to end the campaign top of the county’s batting averages. The century, in only his fourth Championship appearance, came against Glamorgan at Cardiff and stamped the youngster as an exciting talent.

Prospects For 2018

If new overseas signing Dan Worrall proves a success, Gloucestershire will have a seam attack to more than match most in the Championship Second Division and could prove surprise packets. Liam Norwell claimed 59 wickets in the competition last summer, while Craig Miles can be expected to set up on his tally of 27. David Payne’s imminent ankle surgery is a concern, while the suspension of off-spinner Jack Taylor from bowling because of a suspect action, which will cover the entire season, is a another blow, but might offer more opportunities to promising Bristol teenager George Drissell, who made his Championship debut against Northamptonshire last season.

New four-day and 50-over captain Chris Dent will need to inspire a batting line-up, which badly missed Michael Klinger, who played only one-day cricket, and the retired Hamish Marshall in 2017. This summer Klinger will feature in only Vitality Blast and there has to a question-mark over the top order batting in the Championship, which the likes of Benny Howell, Gareth Roderick, James Bracey, Ian Cockbain, Will Tavare and new recruit Ryan Higgins, along with Dent, will be looking to answer.

Worrall will also be central to hopes of success in the Royal London One-Day Cup, which Gloucestershire won only three years ago, while Klinger will shoulder major responsibility for a decent T20 campaign in which Higgins should add some power hitting. A county with a comparatively low budget will again be up against it in all competitions, but in Richard Dawson and Ian Harvey have coaches who will demand high standards and ensure a battling team ethos.

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