Gloucestershire picked up their first Specsavers County Championship victory of the season by beating Leicestershire by an innings and six runs at The Brightside Ground, Bristol.
Having scored 466 for 8 declared in their first innings, Phil Mustard's side bowled out Leicestershire twice, inside two days, with Liam Norwell returning match-winning figures of 10 for 99. The win will certainly go some way towards softening the blow of last week's heavy defeat at the hands of Kent. For Leicestershire, however, there is little or no consolation. That's two chastening defeats in as many games.
Resuming on 165 for 6 on day three, the visitors soon found themselves in trouble at the hands of Norwell, who bowled very well indeed from the Ashley Down End. The Dorset-born seamer sent back Clint Mckay in the first over of the day to celebrate his 200th first class wicket.
To their credit, Ned Eckersley and Richard Jones proved what was capable with an ounce of application and a genuine appetite for the fight, as they added 89 for the eighth wicket. Unfortunately, for the visitors, it was never likely to be enough to help the Foxes avoid the follow on and subsequently, another disappointing loss.
It was that man Norwell that once again did the damage. Bowling in tandem with David Payne, the 25-year-old ripped the heart out of Leicestershire's top and middle order.
After Payne had kicked off the session by having Paul Horton caught by wicketkeeper Mustard for 6, at 10 for 1, Norwell sent back Harry Dearden (4), Neil Dexter (4) and Mark Pettini (1) during a seven over spell that saw him return the impressive figures of 3-19. When Payne added his second wicket, that of Mark Cosgrove (26) at 51 for 5, the game looked as though it would be all over by tea.
Thankfully, for Leicestershire, Eckersley knuckled down to the task in hand and added 86 with Ben Raine for the sixth wicket. Having helped himself to a first half century of the summer in the first innings, Eckersley was unbeaten on 53 at tea, having passed 50 off as many balls, with eight fours. The pair had looked in little trouble until Raine carelessly ran himself out for 42 at 137 for 6. Leicestershire head coach Pierre de Bruyn said: "All credit to Ned for the way he batted in both innings. To have scored as he did, twice in one day, was outstanding. He is a fine player and he certainly showed his maturity." He also added, "However, our batting is an issue again. That's four innings in which we have under performed and have played some schoolboy cricket. I know we are better than that and we are going to have to be."
McKay's cameo of 29 off 39 deliveries, once again held up Gloucestershire. However, when Norwell had the Australian caught in the slips by George Hankins, shortly after tea, the end was nigh. Mustard picked up a wonderful catch to send back Jones for 0 in Payne's next over and though Eckersley batted beautifully for 85, he finally holed out to Jack Taylor on the point boundary off the bowling of Norwell. A fitting end for the bowler who deservedly received a standing ovation from those who saw it.
Gloucestershire coach Richard Dawson said: "We wanted to bounceback after last week's defeat against Kent and we have done that. The performance was exactly what we asked for and what the players wanted.
"The really pleasing aspect is that we had a handful of players who have made match winning contributions in the game, with bat and ball. I felt it was a seriously good Championship wicket and to have played that well on it, is very pleasing indeed."