New-look Gloucestershire ease home
A Gloucestershire team featuring five LV= County Championship debutants got off to a winning start with a comprehensive seven-wicket victory over Division Two rivals Derbyshire at Bristol.
After starting the final day on 19 for one, chasing a target of 146, the home side slumped to 34 for three before skipper Alex Gidman joined young opener Ian Cockbain in an unbroken partnership of 112.
Gidman finished unbeaten on 70, while Cockbain had 59 to his name as Gloucestershire secured 21 points to Derbyshire’s three.
Cockbain’s innings made it a memorable match for the three Gloucestershire players making first-class debuts. Liam Norwell took six wickets in the first innings and David Payne five in the second.
With Richard Coughtrie and Will Gidman, who made a valuable 89 in the first innings, also making their first appearances in the championship, a new-look Gloucestershire side could feel particularly pleased with their efforts.
In last season’s corresponding match, their old guard failed chasing a target of only 125 to win in the final innings and that memory must have returned as Derbyshire struck two early blows on an overcast final day.
Coughtrie had battled away for 26 balls to make only a single when his back-foot defensive shot was beaten by Tim Groenewald and the bails were dislodged.
That left Gloucestershire on 27 for two and seven runs later the experienced Chris Taylor fell to a shot he will quickly want to forget, mis-timing a pull off Tony Palladino straight to Dan Redfern at midwicket.
But Cockbain, who signed for Gloucestershire last autumn after impressing with the MCC Young Cricketers, showed good application to bat through the morning session.
Unbeaten on 10 overnight, he made good use of the square cut to capitalise on anything short and wide, while displaying an exemplary defence in moving to 46 by lunch.
Alex Gidman was watchful to start with, but gradually accelerated to be unbeaten on 44 at lunch, which was taken at 107 for three with some dark clouds gathering. Happily for Gloucestershire, they had cleared by the resumption.
Gidman was first to his fifty, with a glorious cover-driven four off Greg Smith, his seventh boundary in facing 61 balls.
Cockbain got to his half-century with a straight driven two off Steffan Jones in the next over, having faced 116 deliveries and hit five fours, and the opener had the honour of hitting the winning single off the third ball of the 42nd over.