Gidman comes good
Alex Gidman struck his first century of the season in a nine-wicket mauling of the Netherlands which maintained Gloucestershire’s ambitions of qualifying for the Clydesdale Bank 40 semi-finals.
Australian Michael Dighton made 51 and Wesley Barresi 39 in the visitors’ 191 after winning the toss in excellent batting conditions at Bristol. David Payne returned 3-33.
The total never seemed likely to be enough, and the Gladiators cruised to victory despite losing Will Porterfield to the first ball of their reply, with captain Gidman’s 104 not out and James Franklin’s unbeaten 77 guiding them to their target with 3.3 overs to spare.
The result lifted Gloucestershire back into second place in Group B with 16 points from 11 games and, depending on other results, victory at Northamptonshire in their final fixture could see them finish as the best second-placed side.
Gidman had just one moment of anxiety in a fluent hundred, made off 112 balls and containing 11 fours. Peter Borren thought he had caught him at short midwicket early in his innings, but the umpires adjudged that the ball was taken on the half-volley.
Franklin was equally assured, picking off the ones and twos, in a perfectly paced partnership. By the end the New Zealander had faced 103 deliveries and hit only four fours.
The Netherlands finish their group campaign with just a solitary victory, but they looked to have laid the foundation for a bigger score when reaching 132 for two in the 32nd over.
Eric Szwarczynski and Wilfred Diepeveen gave them a solid start with an opening stand of 41 in 12 overs before Szwarczynski was bowled for 18 attempting to cut Franklin.
Left-arm spinner Ed Young took his first wicket for Gloucestershire when he turned one past Diepeveen’s forward defensive shot, but Dighton and Barresi added 85 in 17 overs with the best batting of the innings, Dighton reaching his half-century off 54 balls, with two fours and two sixes.
The game changed when Dighton was run out by Gidman’s throw to the non-striker’s end from midwicket as he attempted a quick single.
It was the first of eight wickets to fall in as many overs as Gidman and Steve Kirby, who claimed two apiece, joined Payne in pegging back the Netherlands as they attempted to accelerate in the closing overs.