Cricket

Gloucestershire wrap up easy chase early on day three to notch season’s first win

Gloucestershire 174 (Bracey 35) and 119 for 4 (Hammond 36) beat Durham 158 (Burnham 43) and 132 (Shaw 3-31) by six wickets

Gloucestershire have secured their first win of the County Championship Division Two season by defeating Durham by six wickets at Emirates Riverside.

The visitors required only 53 runs to win in the morning after the opening partnership between Chris Dent and Miles Hammond had knocked off more than half their target of 117 the previous evening. Although they lost three further wickets, Gloucestershire eased their way to victory to move up to third on the table, eyeing a potential charge for promotion.

Meanwhile, Durham slipped to their fourth defeat in a row in the Championship, remaining rooted to the bottom of Division Two.

Gloucestershire began the day only one wicket down but they lost nightwatchman Josh Shaw without adding to their overnight score as Chris Rushworth made the breakthrough. Shaw had been dropped two balls previously by Ryan Pringle at third slip, but Ned Eckersley claimed a routine catch to send him on his way.

Hammond made a solid knock of 36 to put Gloucestershire on the verge of victory. However, Matt Salisbury struck with his first ball of day three to deny the opener the chance to see his team over the line, edging behind to Eckersley. Salisbury then bowled George Hankins just before James Bracey and Gareth Roderick were able to see out the comfortable win.

The visitors’ clinical edge with the ball and in the field was the difference between the two sides. Gloucestershire capitalised on familiar failings in the Durham batting ranks to surge through the order twice in two days. Ryan Higgins, David Payne, Matt Taylor and Shaw were all on form, posing problems with their accuracy and the ability to find movement off the slow track.

Graeme van Buuren played a pivotal role in Gloucestershire’s victory when he ran out Cameron Bancroft on day two. The Aussie looked well set on 40 not out in his attempt to dig Durham out of trouble. However, Bancroft hesitated after his partner, Liam Trevaskis, called for a tight single, allowing van Buuren to collect at cover before connecting with an accurate throw at the stumps.

Bancroft’s dismissal epitomised Durham’s season in the Championship to date, failing in the decisive moments. Head coach James Franklin has made changes since replacing Jon Lewis, but he has yet to find a cure for his side’s batting woes in the four-day format.

Franklin said: “It has certainly been a tough start. Four games and four losses. It is what it is and we have 10 more games to try to show improvement and progress in this format of the game.

“Make no bones about it, the guys in the dressing room are hurting really badly. In some ways it’s quite good that we have 10 days until the next first-team game to clear their heads and regroup to get a method to compete in the next four-day game against Derbyshire.”

Durham host Derbyshire and Northamptonshire in back-to-back matches at the beginning of June where they are in dire need of improvement to end their win-less run in the Championship. Gloucestershire now prepare for a showdown against Lancashire at Cheltenham, beginning on Monday.

Article source: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/story/1185102.html?CMP=OTC-RSS

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