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All to play for at Bristol

Hampshire CCC

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Gloucestershire still have much to do if they are to stave off defeat at the hands of Hampshire on the final day of the LV= County Championship match at Bristol.

The home side staged a spirited recovery to bowl the visitors out for 276 and restrict them to a negligible first-innings lead of five runs, only to themselves suffer a mini-collapse during the evening session.

Their top order undermined by Hampshire's seam bowlers, Gloucestershire reached the close on 102 for four, just 97 runs to the good.

With the weather set fair for the fourth day, promotion-chasing Hampshire will fancy their chances of forcing victory to keep up the pressure on Division Two leaders Derbyshire.

David Balcombe

Hampshire seamer David Balcombe claimed three wickets after tea to leave proceedings evenly poised heading into day four at Bristol

Responding to the home side's 271, Hampshire looked set to establish a meaningful advantage when they advanced to 218 for four shortly before lunch.

However, South African batsman Neil McKenzie was then bowled by David Payne for 94 and things soon went awry thereafter.

McKenzie shared 50 with Simon Katich, who was run out by Ian Saxelby for 31, and also received useful support from Liam Dawson and Sean Ervine prior to Gloucestershire’s fightback.

Michael Bates and Dimitri Mascarenhas fell cheaply, while Saxelby and Payne made good use of the second new ball to quickly wrap up the tail.

It was Saxelby who had Ervine caught at first slip for 44, ending a previously chanceless innings.

Gloucestershire’s openers then put on 51 for the first wicket on a flattening wicket, only for Hampshire to hit back with wickets of their own.

Katich held on to a fine catch at second slip off David Balcombe to dismiss Rob Nicol, while Benny Howell drove loosely at Ervine to be caught in the cordon for 36.

Balcombe also ousted Alex Gidman and Hamish Marshall before the close, but Dan Housego and Ian Cockbain saw out the remaining 12 overs without further mishap.

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