Gloucestershire beat Glamorgan by 125 runs on the final day of their Specsavers County Championship match at Bristol after the Welsh county dramatically collapsed, losing their last ten wickets for just 56 runs in the space of 26.5 overs.
Close of Play Report
Glamorgan had nosedived from 87/0 to 120/8 in a dramatic hour’s play before tea as Gloucestershire surged back into the game which seemed in Glamorgan’s favour after a solid start by the Welsh county’s opening pair. But when play resumed at 4.00pm, David Lloyd had been joined by Graham Wagg who bravely returned to the crease with a large amount of protection on his damaged forearm after being struck on Monday.
Whilst Wagg last year at Guildford had played an innings in adversity of which Clark Kent would have been proud, the situation today was an entirely different matter and the wounded warrior’s main role appeared to be to help his side survive the minimum of 37.1 overs which were remaining. But it seemed as if he had been treated by a dose of kryptonite as he began by lofting Taylor straight by six before hoisting him to mid-wicket for four, followed by a rasping cut for four.
A large bank of cloud then built up over the ground as Lloyd pulled Miles for four before rain started to fall over the ground, and with conditions becoming gloomy, Graeme van Buuren returned at the Ashley Down End as it was too dark for the seamers to continue.
But the precipitation intensified and the players left the field at 4.20pm. It only proved to be a brief stoppage as the rain soon eased and play re-started at 4.45pm with six overs being lost, but Wagg departed to the fourth ball as Taylor spun a delivery through his defensive prod. Michael Hogan then joined Lloyd, but it proved to be a brief partnership as in the spinners next over, Lloyd attempted a flick to long-leg but edged the ball into Roderick’s gloves as Gloucestershire completed their victory with 21 overs remaining.
The shower which had forced the players off for an early lunch at 12.50pm had cleared by the time play re-started at 1.30pm, without the loss of any further overs. Jacques Rudolph and Mark Wallace resumed with Glamorgan requiring a further 251 runs from the 69 remaining overs. After a series of singles, Rudolph dispatched Craig Miles for four through cover before Wallace found the ropes for the first time as he punched Payne off the back foot through backward point, followed by a scythed upper cut to the same area when Miles dropped short as Gloucestershire’s new ball attack found less assistance from the surface as the visitors.
In fact, the game briefly took on something of a Twenty20 tempo as Payne’s sixth over haemorrhaged sixteen runs with Wallace adding further to his boundary tally by clipping Miles in the space of an over to the mid-wicket ropes and over the head of both point and square-leg as Glamorgan raced to the 50-mark to disprove the notion that the wicket would assist the new ball bowlers.
Kieran Noema-Barnett then entered the attack at the Ashley Down End and was deftly nurdled to third man by Rudolph before the captain continued to work the ball into the gaps and to rotate the strike with his partner whose jaunty approach may have been influenced by pockets of rain-bearing cloud which were appearing on the Bristol skyline. Wallace found the ropes again as he caressed a slower ball from Noema-Barnett through the covers before Graeme van Buuren’s left-arm spin was deployed in the 21st over, whilst Josh Shaw had a spell at the Ashley Down End.
These bowling changes saw the complexion of the match dramatically alter as, after Wallace had completed his fifty from 71 balls with a glide into the leg-side against Shaw, next over he was bowled trying to reverse-sweep the spinner. 87/1 then became 94/2 as van Buuren snared Rudolph, courtesy of a catch by Hamish Marshall at slip, and with another shower looming over the ground, Andrew Salter was promoted up the order in a pinch-hitting guise. He began by swatting Shaw to mid-wicket, but next over, van Buuren struck again as the diminutive spinner lured Bragg down the wicket only to miscue a lofted drive into the hands of mid-off.
97/3 saw Chris Cooke join Salter as Miles returned in place of Shaw, and eager to atone for his rough treatment earlier by Wallace. It took him just two balls to strike as Salter pulled a short ball high in the air towards long-leg where George Hankins ran in to complete the catch. Next ball, Cooke brought up the hundred by guiding the seamer through the slips but next ball he also departed as he chipped Shaw to mid-wicket where Cameron Bancroft took a fine low catch diving to his right
102/5 saw Aneurin Donald and David Lloyd join forces and after some early reconnaissance, the latter pulled Shaw for four before punching van Buuren through the covers. But with the total on 119, Donald scooped a drive from Shaw into the hands of mid-on. Jack Taylor then replaced van Buuren at the Pavilion End and with his first delivery bowled Harry Podmore. Four balls later Timm van der Gugten edged Taylor to slip where Marshall held another catch.
Events throughout this match have suggested that this is a “new-ball wicket”, with yesterday afternoon Gloucestershire slipping from 232/4 at tea, with two batsmen who seemed well set, to 302/8 by the close after the new ball had been taken straight after the interval. With Michael Hogan and Timm van der Gugten delivering a probing spell, the two home batsmen who had prospered against the old and soft ball found it, quite literally, a different ball game and departed inside four overs of the new ball being taken
On the opening morning, Gloucestershire had also lost four wickets within the first hour, whilst in Glamorgan’s first innings, opener Mark Wallace departed to the first legitimate ball he faced, as he parried a sharply rising delivery into the hands of backward point. It took all the skill and nous of Jacques Rudolph and Will Bragg to prevent the home attack from making further inroads, and the Glamorgan side knew that similar qualities would have to be displayed by their batsmen today.
Light rain and bad light had forced the players off the field last night and the precipitation continued overnight. There was still rain falling over Gloucestershire’s headquarters when the players and officials arrived at 9am, but it soon brightened up and mopping up operations took place. After an inspection at 10.30am, the umpires decreed that play would start at 11.15am with the loss of four overs from the daily quota.
Van der Gugten resumed the bowling at the Ashley Down End, whilst Hogan resumed at the Pavilion End, and it was the Dutchman who struck first as in his second over of the morning, David Payne sparred at a rising delivery to give Andrew Salter a regulation catch in the gully. After being joined by Josh Shaw, Craig Miles glanced Hogan to fine-leg for four before swatting a short ball in between the leg-side fielders. The tenth wicket pair stoutly defended with Miles also playing a rasping cover drive against Hogan, whilst Shaw glanced van der Gugten to square-leg.
With Gloucestershire on 335/9 Harry Podmore returned to the attack in place of Hogan, and after a single to Miles, Shaw edged the on-loan seamer to Will Bragg at first slip to leave Glamorgan a target of 269 to win in a minimum of 76 overs. Jacques Rudolph began with a cover driven four in Payne’s first over whilst light rain started to fall during the second over as a shower skirted the ground.The Glamorgan captain then laconically pulled a short ball from Miles to the ropes for four as another band of drizzle moved across the ground and brought an early lunch at 12.50pm