Gloucestershire end Somerset’s 100 % Royal London Cup record with 4 wicket win
Gloucestershire ended Somerset’s 100 per cent Royal London One-Day Cup record with a four-wicket win in a low-scoring contest at Bristol.
The visitors posted 242 for nine from their 50 overs after winning the toss, Lewis Gregory, their only batsman to look comfortable on the slow pitch, making 52 off 33 balls, while Benny Howell claimed three for 45 from his ten overs.
In reply, Gloucestershire made 246 for six, winning with 4 balls to spare. Graeme van Buuren top-scored with 61, while Miles Hammond made 48 and Jack Taylor 43 not out.
The result left the hosts with six points from five matches and Somerset eight from the same number of games.
The first ten overs of Somerset’s innings brought just 32 runs for the loss of Tom Banton, bowled by a David Payne yorker for 11. It was 38 for two when Peter Trego fell lbw attempting to sweep left-arm spinner van Buuren.
James Hildreth chipped a catch to mid-wicket off Ryan Higgins with the total on 51 and Azhar Ali had failed to hit a single boundary when bowled trying to cut loose with a reverse sweep off Tom Smith for 43.
Somerset managed only 2 fours off the bat in the first 30 overs, which ended with them 105 for four. Skipper Tom Abell and George Bartlett added 55 before the latter was run out for 29 by Higgins attempting a second run to deep point.
Gregory announced his intentions with a six over long-on off Payne, but Somerset still needed an injection of quick runs when Abell was caught at backward-point off Smith for 42.
It was supplied by Gregory, who hit sixes off successive balls from Higgins, before Roelof van der Merwe was caught at third-man off Howell for 16.
Craig Overton took his average in five Royal London Cup innings this season to 146, with an unbeaten 25, but Gregory’s impressive contribution was ended by a catch at mid-off, giving Howell his second wicket.
Gloucestershire’s reply got off to a bad start in the first over when skipper Chris Dent was run out at the non-striker’s end by bowler Overton, sent back attempting a quick single.
Soon Gloucestershire were finding it equally difficult to score quickly as they crawled to 26 for one from ten overs. When Gregory struck with successive deliveries in the 14th over, having Gareth Roderick caught behind for 25 and Howell caught at point for a first ball duck, the outcome was in the balance.
After 25 overs, Gloucestershire were 86 for three. Then James Bracey, on 21, attempted to launch Josh Davey over the leg-side and fell to a well-judged catch by van der Merwe off a skyer.
VICTORRYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!! ????????— Gloucestershire Cricket?? (@Gloscricket) April 28, 2019
A terrific win for The Shire, Ryan Higgins crunches the ball for a boundary to lead Gloucestershire to victory over Somerset!
Scorecard ?? https://t.co/w9WY7qzgT3#GoGlos???? pic.twitter.com/bKD5zMGx4i
Miles Hammond played sensibly for his 48 off 83 balls when brilliantly caught by Azhar at mid-wicket off Tim Groenewald and Gloucestershire were in trouble at 114 for five in the 31st over.
Somerset’s bowlers were backed up by some inspired fielding. With 15 overs to go, Gloucestershire needed a further 115 at seven and half an over.
Their hopes rested largely with van Buuren and Taylor, who both hit sixes off Davey to boost the run-rate. Neither looked troubled as van Buuren moved to a fine half-century off 52 balls before miscuing Overton to Azhar at mid-off.
The pair had added 83 in 14 overs. Higgins blasted Groenewald over long-on for six as the 46th over went for 17. And another massive six by Higgins off the same bowler two overs later sealed Somerset’s fate, Groenewald losing his line and length to prove hugely expensive.
Gloucestershire head coach Richard Dawson said: "I was delighted with the way we never panicked in chasing down the target. Graeme van Buuren and Jack Taylor judged their innings so well and as a team we played with a good deal of intelligence.
"The two innings were very similar and there was some great fielding from both sides, with Tom Abell absolutely outstanding for Somerset. That's what made it such a close game.
"We would have batted first had we won the toss because the pitch was only going to get slower. We have been playing good cricket at home and will be looking for more of the same against Glamorgan here on Tuesday."
Somerset head coach Jason Kerr said: "We have played so well this season up to now, but today Gloucestershire were better than us.
I was happy enough with the target we set on that pitch and we should have defended it.
"But we didn't execute our skills with the ball at the end and it made the difference. You have to credit them for the way they managed their innings after a slow start.
"We had a good look at the pitch before the game and decided it wasn't going to turn, which it didn't. That is why we didn't bring in a spinner and instead took the decision to go with the line-up which had done so well for us."
Gloucestershire - Miles Hammond, Chris Dent(c), Gareth Roderick(wk), James Bracey, Benny Howell, Jack Taylor, Ryan Higgins, Graeme van Buuren, Tom Smith, David Payne, Matt Taylor
Somerset - Azhar Ali, Tom Banton(wk), Peter Trego, James Hildreth, Tom Abell(c), George Bartlett, Lewis Gregory, Craig Overton, Roelof van der Merwe, Tim Groenewald, Josh Davey
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