Essex romp to comprehensive win

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Graham Napier

Graham Napier claimed his sixth five-wicket haul in first-class cricket as Essex cantered to victory over Gloucestershire at Chelmsford

Essex opened their LV=County Championship Division Two campaign with a comfortable innings-and-38-run victory over Gloucestershire at Chelmsford.

The visitors had begun the third day on 55 for five requiring a further 129 runs to make Essex bat again, yet they never looked likely to make a fight of it, losing their remaining wickets in little more than an hour as they were bowled out for 146.

Graham Napier did much of the damage second time around, finishing with 5-58. That represented the sixth five-wicket haul of the 32-year-old’s career and helped his county start the season with a 23-point haul.

The overnight pair of Ian Cockbain and Will Gidman did provide some resistance when they resumed against Napier and David Masters. Both made progress with some well-timed drives to add 41 runs.

However, Napier then struck, trapping Gidman lbw on the back foot for 39, the highest score of Gloucestershire’s innings.

Cockbain followed Gidman back to the pavilion in the next over when he was caught behind off Masters and Napier then grabbed his fifth scalp when James Fuller mis-timed a pull to Maurice Chambers at mid-off to fall for a duck.

Greg Smith replaced Masters and claimed his first wicket for Essex, Paul Muchall caught at short-leg by Billy Godleman.

After Ed Young and Ian Saxelby had delayed the inevitable with a 10th-wicket stand of 40, teenage left-arm seamer Tymal Mills then brought proceedings to a close, dismissing the former for 23 to claim his fourth wicket in the match.

Heavily beaten inside seven sessions, Gloucestershire took just three points from the fixture.

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