Gloucestershire grateful to Gidman
Alex Gidman struck an unbeaten 76 to guide his Gloucestershire side to a four-wicket win over Surrey at the Kia Oval and move into LV= County Championship Division Two promotion contention.
Having taken Surrey’s five remaining second-innings wickets for 16 runs in the space of 41 balls during the morning session of day three, the visitors recovered from a collapse of their own to secure a 21-point victory with a day to spare.
Gloucestershire’s undoubted heroes of the day were captain Gidman and pace bowler Ian Saxelby, who bent his back to earn career-best figures of 6-69 - and 11-142 in the match.
Saxelby started the Surrey rout 16 overs into the day by removing Gareth Batty for 23. Dropped by wicketkeeper Richard Coughtrie in the previous over after nicking a back-foot force, Batty went without addition when edging an airy drive behind.
After adding only 14 to his overnight score of 61 in just over an hour, Mark Ramprakash was lbw to good delivery from Jon Lewis that jagged back in and kept low.
Saxelby helped run through the tail by having Yasir Arafat taken low down at slip and Tim Linley caught behind, while Jade Dernbach holed out to long-on off Lewis to leave Gloucestershire a victory target of 160.
The visitors looked comfortable in reaching 33 without loss soon after lunch, but the loss of five wickets for 21 runs in the space on nine overs left Gloucestershire with plenty to do.
Hamish Marshall and Kane Williamson fell in consecutive deliveries from Arafat and, although Chris Taylor survived the hat-trick ball, he was soon walking back after being caught down the leg side off the same bowler.
Gloucestershire were in deep trouble when Linley removed Chris Dent, superbly caught one-handed at third slip by Tom Maynard, and Will Gidman, who edged an outswinger, to make it 54 for five.
However, Alex Gidman found a willing ally in Coughtrie as they added 67 inside 18 overs to break the back of their run-chase.
Coughtrie finally had his off stump trimmed by Linley after scoring 10 in 72 minutes, but Gidman marched on to reach a 77-ball half-century and ultimately see the job through.
An upright, well-organised right-hander who came into this game with an excellent championship average against Surrey of 64.23, Gidman maintained his form with an unbeaten 76. He watched from the other end as Ed Young clattered successive fours against Linley to seal victory.
Arafat, with season-best figures of 3-49, was the pick of Surrey’s all-seam attack, while off-spinner Gareth Batty was overlooked.