Saturday, 7 May 2011

Shire emerge with creditable draw with table toppers Middlesex

Gloucestershire 358 and 347 drew with Middlesex 406 and 123 for 4

Heading into this game against a Middlesex side, who had won 3 from 3 matches and already forced both Surrey and Essex to follow on, The Jessop Tavern View was not full of optimism that we could get a result. When we lost 3 wickets (including first innings centurion Taylor) in the first 13 overs, with the lead only 215, we feared the worst, a Rogers-inspired chase against a team he has enjoyed punishing in the past.

Thankfully this didn't come to pass. Will Gidman is now officially the better brother. He added 75 with Liam Norwell and accelerated after passing 50 to make 93, his best score in first class cricket. It would have been nice for him to complete a good match with a hundred, but he mistimed a drive and was caught by Scott Newman. O'Mish then emerged, despite his fractured thumb, and helped extend the lead to 300.

The chase was always going to be a stiff ask for Middlesex and once the Sperm Donor had removed Rogers and Scott Newman, the only question was whether we could get another 8 wickets in the time remaining. This wasn't to be, as bad light brought an early end to proceedings, despite the boys managing another two wickets with only 123 runs scored.

On balance, Gloucestershire had the better of this match. The fight shown by both Taylor and Will Gidman in both innings, the 8 wickets for Lewis and a career-best 72 for Ian Cockbain in the second innings were all good efforts. The general level of backbone shown by the whole side was very encouraging in a match where the dubious selection of only three frontline bowlers threatened to hand the initiative to an in-form Middlesex side.

There are worries, not least the injury to O'Mish (another crocked opener) and the continuing poor form with the bat from the skipper. Let's hope Gidders can settle on a consistent spot in the batting order and knuckle down and score some much-needed runs. However, two wins and a draw from 4 Championship games is pretty good considering what people were saying at the start of the season. Bring on Somerset in the CB40 tomorrow. Jon Lewis takes a well-deserved rest and The Child will have a fitness test on his knee. Marshall is obviously out, so Ed Young and James Fuller return to the squad for a match that could well be weather affected.

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