Willey decimates Gloucestershire
David Willey took a match haul of 10 wickets as Northamptonshire did all they could today to be promoted, with a nine-wicket demolition of Gloucestershire before lunch on day three at Wantage Road.
Victory moved Northants to the top of Division Two but they must hope previous leaders Middlesex fail to beat Leicestershire, which would see Andrew Hall’s side go up.
The hosts began this round of matches 12 points behind Middlesex and one ahead of Surrey, but dropped two batting points while Surrey took maximum bonus points and this afternoon beat Derbyshire to go up.
Northants bowled Gloucestershire out for 185 in the morning, with left-arm seamer Willey claiming two more victims to take figures of 5-46 and a magnificent 10-75 for the match.
The hosts were set a paltry target of 26 and, despite losing Rob Newton, they reached it within four overs to record their first home win since May.
Gloucestershire started the day on 84 for five in their second innings, following on after being bowled out for 183 yesterday, with captain Alex Gidman resuming on six and Hamish Marshall beginning his innings.
Gidman moved on to 27 before Willey broke through in the ninth over of the day when he forced him to edge to Andrew Hall at first slip.
A four through backward point off James Middlebrook by Ian Cockbain ensured that the hosts would have to bat again, but former New Zealand international Marshall was to perish on 42.
Striding down the pitch after a Middlebrook delivery, he was sharply stumped by Niall O’Brien.
Former Sri Lanka seamer Chaminda Vaas then accounted for Cockbain, who made a brisk 23, in the next over when he was edged to Hall at first slip.
Willey then secured his maiden 10-wicket haul and his fifth dismissal of the innings when he trapped Will Gidman lbw as soon as he was brought back on in the 51st over.
With the next ball, Gloucestershire’s innings was brought to an end, and with it the final one for Jon Lewis after 16 years with the club before his move to Surrey next season.
Lewis had clubbed eight off two balls but he was on the receiving end of a brilliant piece of fielding by Newton at point, who threw a direct hit at the stumps.
Chasing 26, Northants lost Newton for four in the second over when he smashed Ian Saxelby straight to Marshall at backward point.
But victory was secured two overs later when Kyle Coetzer, who made eight not out, struck four behind square-leg off Saxelby with O’Brien unbeaten on 14.
Defeat ended Gloucestershire's outside chance of promotion.