Gloucestershire make leaders pay
Division Two leaders Derbyshire were put firmly in their place by lowly Gloucestershire on the opening day of the LV= County Championship match at Bristol.
Yet to lose a four-day game this season and well clear of their nearest rivals going into this game, the surprise early-season front-runners were shot out for just 95 inside 33 overs – their lowest score of the summer - after winning the toss.
Gloucestershire extended their advantage on a true pitch, New Zealand batsman Kane Williamson and skipper Alex Gidman posting half-centuries to help the home side reach the close on 182 for five, already 87 runs ahead.
Derbyshire’s hitherto in-form batsmen succumbed to a combination of poor shot selection, suicidal running between and disciplined bowling from a Gloucestershire seam attack that adhered admirably to the tenets of line and length.
Their previous lowest championship score this season – 130 against Glamorgan at SWALEC Stadium in April – was already beyond the visitors after they lurched to lunch at 83 for eight.
Gloucestershire’s decision to recall David Payne following injury paid immediate dividends, the left-armer undermining Derbyshire’s top-order during an incisive spell of 3-21.
The former England Under-19 international extracted additional bounce to remove in-form opener Martin Guptill, the New Zealander deflecting a short delivery onto his stumps, and then saw skipper Wayne Madsen edge to second slip.
In between those dismissals, left-hander Matt Lineker - playing instead of Paul Borrington - offered a regulation catch behind, forced into front foot indiscretion by a ball of full-length.
Instead of learning their lesson, Derbyshire’s batsmen continued to adopt an aggressive approach against the swinging ball and succumbed to a blistering spell from Will Gidman shortly before lunch.
Gloucestershire’s talented all-rounder claimed 4-28 from eight overs, including a spell of three wickets in seven balls.
Dan Redfern mis-timed a pull shot and was brilliantly held at deep square-leg by Ian Saxelby and Wes Durston - cutting - was caught by Chris Dent at second slip.
David Wainwright lost his off stump to a ball that left him and Tom Poynton offered a catch at the wicket as the visitors slumped from 63 for two to 83 for eight at lunch.
Saxelby weighed in with the wicket of Jonathan Clare, his reward for a superbly-controlled effort from the Pavilion End.
Derbyshire added to their problems in the afternoon session, Tony Palladino needlessly running out Ross Whiteley and then succumbing in similarly hapless fashion himself.
Although Gloucestershire openers Jonathan Batty – promoted up the order due to a broken finger suffered by Chris Dent – and Benny Howell departed cheaply, Alex Gidman and Williamson confirmed the hosts’ superiority in a third-wicket stand of 81 in 30.5 overs.
Williamson had raised an eye-catching 56 from 112 balls, including 10 fours, when Groenewald found his outside edge, wicketkeeper Poynton taking a brilliant catch.
Hamish Marshall was bowled by Whiteley for 31 and nightwatchman Liam Norwell fell to the same bowler in the penultimate over as Derbyshire staged a late fightback.
The resolute Gidman - who raised 50 from 125 balls - was still there at stumps on 72 not out.