Gloucestershire slide to defeat
Gloucestershire suffered another alarming batting collapse to concede victory to Surrey by 10 runs on the final day of the LV= County Championship Division Two match at Bristol.
Set 261 to win in 74 overs, the home side appeared to be cruising at 216 for four with Chris Dent and Hamish Marshall well established.
But Marshall’s dismissal sparked a calamitous slide in which six wickets fell for the addition of just 34 as Gloucestershire were dismissed for 250.
Pace bowler Jade Dernbach and leg-spinner Chris Schofield did the damage, returning figures of 4-55 and 4-63 respectively to send Gloucestershire tumbling to their ninth championship defeat of a disappointing summer.
Although there was little at stake for either side other than pride, Surrey’s 17-point haul was nevertheless sufficient to put them above arch-rivals Middlesex in the end-of-season table.
For their part, Gloucestershire were left to reflect on another feeble performance with the bat, their Achilles heel throughout the campaign.
At one stage, they looked odds-on favourites to chase down their target thanks to teenage batsman Chris Dent.
The England Under-19 left-hander dominated stands of 88 and 89 with New Zealanders James Franklin and Hamish Marshall respectively and looked set to register his maiden first-class hundred.
Twice out for 98 at Derby in May and Northampton last month, the Backwell-based 19-year-old reached 94 from 194 balls on this occasion before losing his wicket, bowled by the wily Schofield in the act of sweeping.
It was Marshall’s departure, caught behind off Dernbach for 51, that inexorably altered the course of the game.
Schofield pinned an unwell Jon Batty lbw for one in his next over and then accounted for Dent to put the skids under Gloucestershire.
Jon Lewis attempted to cut Dernbach and was bowled without scoring, but there remained hope for the home side while Chris Taylor was still at large.
Careful to keep the strike, he represented the biggest threat to Surrey’s prospects of completing an unlikely success.
Gloucestershire required only another 11 when the Bristolian was utterly undone by a Dernbach yorker, having scored 28.
And it was all over next ball, Anthony Ireland playing on to leave Gemaal Hussain one not out and spark noisy Surrey celebrations.
Eager to make a game of it, the visitors earlier declared their second innings on 180 for three.
Gloucestershire played their part in contriving an exciting finale, serving up some friendly bowling to hasten the declaration.
Occasional off-spinners Chris Taylor and Will Porterfield offered all the encouragement Surrey needed during the morning session, Rory Hamilton-Brown and Tom Lancefield filling their boots as the Londoners added 81 runs in eight overs.
Lancefield harvested an unbeaten 67 from 99 balls and hit 12 fours, while skipper Hamilton-Brown made 50 not out from just 31 deliveries in an innings liberally studded with 11 fours.