Gloucestershire's early season momentum is well and truly gone after two heavy Championship defeats in a week. Both efforts were pretty pathetic, but the innings defeat to Surrey was one of the low points of the season so far. We may be accused of trademark negativity here, but how else do you describe an innings and 180 run defeat inside three days, while failing to top 160 on either occasion. That was our 5th Championship loss of the season and it's hard to see us getting any better with the overall lack of quality in the squad and consequent absence of competition for places.
Essex 319 (ten Doeschate 73, Foster 63) and 117 for 5 (Westley 65*) beat Gloucestershire 116 (Napier 4-27) and 316 (Klinger 103) by five wickets
The Essex game actually started out reasonably well, with an even first day which saw Essex fight back from 169-5 to post 319 after Ryan Ten Doeschate's 73. Watching the video however, you can see the signs of things not going well, as stand-in keeper Geraint Jones shells an easy chance to dismiss Nick Browne off the bowling of Fuller. Gareth Roderick played in this match as a batsman only due to his damaged hand and let's hope it recovers soon. You can see why Jones has basically retired from keeping these days when you look at him shelling simple chances like this.
It all went downhill fairly rapidly from there though, as we were skittled for a meagre 116 on first innings (in 39 overs!) with Graham Napier taking 4-27. Best not to dwell on this other than the fact that this led to the inevitable follow on, with Glos ending the day still 77 behind at 126-3 on second innings. Day 3 saw one bright spot, as Michael Klinger completed his second championship century of the season, before we were bowled out for 316, leaving Essex 117 for victory.
They knocked these off without too many scares, despite losing Cook first ball and sent Glos to our 4th home Championship defeat in as many games. Not good to lose so heavily to a side like Essex who had struggled earlier in the season and who we beat comfortably by 9 wickets down at Chelmsford. That said, it only got worse below.
Surrey 448 (Foakes 118, Elgar 98, Ansari 64, Batty 50, Norwell 5-112) beat Gloucestershire 113 (Curran 7-20) and 155 (Tavare 58, Ansari 6-30) by an innings and 180 runs
We are not going to waste too much time on this, as the performance was fairly shambolic from start to finish. Once Surrey posted over 400 we were already predicting the follow on and it duly followed with yet another sub-150 total. A tenuous bright spot for 'Shire fans came as (son of sadly departed former Glos all-rounder Kevin) Tom Curran took a career-best 7-20 as he ripped through a wafer-thin Glos lineup stuffed with players either out of form or essentially un-droppable, due to lack of alternatives.
Predictably we were asked to follow on and this time it was the slow left arm of Zafar Ansari that did the damage. Despite a battling 58 from Will Tavare, his 6-30 hastened the second innings to a rapid close with Glos still 180 shy of making Surrey bat again. All in all a really bad performance and not one that bodes well for this week's T20 game against the same opponents at the Oval.
Both halves of the Jessop Tavern will actually be at the game, so heatstroke notwithstanding, readers will be able to read a surprisingly accurate recap (by our standards) later in the week.
Video highlights from 3 days of misery for 'Shire fans below.