Gloucestershire v Derbyshire at Cheltenham on 14 to 17 July: LV=County Championship: Division Two
By John Brown
Derbyshire chased down 204 inside two sessions to claim victory on the final day of a thrilling LV= County Championship fixture versus Gloucestershire at Cheltenham.
Gloucestershire won the toss at this beautiful venue and chose to bat on what was expected to be a batsman-friendly pitch. Derbyshire’s bowlers started well and, when Tom Taylor had Alex Gidman caught at slip in the eighteenth over, Gloucestershire had scored at less than two an over.
When lunch came the home team had scored only 77 for two from thirty-two overs. Runs came rather more easily during the afternoon, but Palladino took two wickets before tea and Taylor two more before the close.
One of these was Tavare who had made a solid 135, although Will Gidman was still there on 88. Derbyshire had every reason to feel satisfied with the close-of-play score of 304 for six on what had been a hard day for the fielding side.
On the second morning Taylor took two more wickets to record his first first-class five-wicket haul, a fine performance for a young man who has not yet left his teenage years. Although there was an irritating tenth-wicket stand of twenty-seven Gloucestershire were all out for 356.
Now Derbyshire had the opportunity to see what they could do on this trustworthy pitch. Ben Slater and Billy Godleman batted with care before Godleman was lbw to Will Gidman in the eighteenth over with the score on thirty, but Slater and Wayne Madsen added another 81 before Slater edged a ball to the wicket-keeper after he had made a well-constructed 70. Madsen was joined by Shivnarine Chanderpaul and together this pair both reached their fifties before the close when Derbyshire had made 216 for two.
Everything looked very promising for Derbyshire, but Madsen (151 balls) was out early on the third morning when he played a loose shot to be caught in the gully. Chanderpaul (148 balls) followed nine overs later, but Wes Durston continued his fine form: he took twelve balls to get off the mark, but thereafter he reached his fifty from a further thirty-seven balls. He too was caught off a loose shot from a long-hop outside the off-stump after hitting ten fours and a six in his fifty-five ball innings.
Gareth Cross and Alex Hughes had to work hard for their runs, but they managed to pass the Gloucestershire score with only five wickets down. So often this season it has been the tail-enders who have rescued the innings, but on this occasion, just when Derbyshire would have been hoping to push on and establish a large lead, they fell away weakly so the last five wickets added a mere twelve runs.
A first-innings lead of only sixteen was a disappointment, but Derbyshire’s three main seam-bowlers raised hopes and spirits as they took the home team’s first four wickets for only forty runs. If Chanderpaul’s throw at the stumps had been an inch more accurate and Marshall thereby run out, Gloucestershire would have been in real trouble, but he survived and added 81 with Will Gidman. Durston turned one to find the edge of Gidman’s bat, so Gloucestershire finished the day on 137 for five, a lead of 121.
The game was finely balanced, and the fourth day promised to be a fascinating one. Palladino and Taylor bowled with great accuracy, but it was not until the introduction of spin after seventy minutes that the first wicket fell, and then it was as a result of a smart piece of fielding by Slater at short-leg. He stopped a firm hit by Smith and flicked it back to the ‘keeper who effected the run out.
Wainwright bowled very tidily and took the last four wickets between them in just eight overs while twenty-three runs were added. Marshall was last out at exactly one o’clock, so Derbyshire were left to score 204 to win from a minimum of sixty-seven overs.
Godleman and Slater gave Derbyshire just the sort of start they would have been hoping for as they added 81 together before they were both out at the same score. Godleman had been the more fluent of the two as he struck six fours and one six his 84-ball innings. Madsen and Chanderpaul saw Derbyshire through to tea, taken at 102 for two, exactly hallway to their target with thirty-two overs remaining.
Chanderpaul seemed determined to steer the team home as he played watchfully and took mainly singles while his partners played the more extravagant shots. Durston hit five fours in his nineteen-ball innings, and it was his acceleration that made virtually certain that his team would canter home. When the last hour began Derbyshire needed 32 from sixteen overs: now Chanderpaul decided that he could afford to play more extravagantly and he hit 21 from the last nine balls that he faced, the last of them being his second six over long-on.
This had been a thoroughly well-earned and well-deserved victory, which Derbyshire’s supporters will hope is the start of better things.
Gloucestershire 356 (118.1 overs) (WA Tavare 135, WRS Gidman 125, HJH Marshall 45; TAI Taylor 5 for 58, AP Palladino 3 for 63, MHA Footitt 2 for 70) and 219 (73.5 overs) (HJH Marshall 71, WRS Gidman 39, TMJ Smith 33; DJ Wainwright 3 for 64, J Durston 2 for 22, MHA Footitt 2 for 50)
Derbyshire 372 (119 overs) (WL Madsen 80, S Chanderpaul 73, BT Slater 70, WJ Durston 58, AL Hughes 39; BAC Howell 4 for 68, WRS Gidman 2 for 55, JMR Taylor 2 for 66) and 208-4 (57.4 overs) (BA Godleman 54, S Chanderpaul 52*, WL Madsen 35, BT Slater 27, WJ Durston 27, TMJ Smith 2 for 72)
Derbyshire (22 points) beat Gloucestershire (4) by 6 wickets
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