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Gidman produces 'Eck of a performance

Will Gidman continued his remarkable game as Leicestershire were beaten by an innings and 138 runs on the third day of the LV=CC match at Bristol.

Resuming on 60-1, the prolific Ned Eckersley made 84 (103b) in extending his stand with debutant Angus Robson (49, 121b) to 130.

But the last nine Leicestershire wickets fell for a total of 118 as Gloucestershire claimed 24 points to County's two. Gidman took 4-28 including the final wicket of Ollie Freckingham, who made a career-best 30.

That meant Gidman had tremendous match figures of 10-43, including a career-best 6-15 in the first innings, to go with a personal high of 143 with the willow.

There was no sign of what was to come as Leicestershire had a good start to the day. Robson and Eckersley looked extremely solid and also picked off boundary opportunities when they arose.

Eckersley twice drove to the ropes in the opening over of the day bowled by David Payne (15-3-63-1), the first boundary taking the stand beyond 50 and the second moving him to 1,250 first-class runs for the summer.

Eckersley continued to catch the eye by picking up a three and two more fours, the latter arriving courtesy of a rasping cover drive. That stroke recorded Eckersley's 47-ball 50 - it was the 11th boundary of a classy knock.

Another four came for Eckersley before a spell of three maidens. But occupation of the crease was Leicestershire’s concern, so that was not an issue.

Three singles in the 26th over got the board moving again and Eckersley steered down to the vacant third man boundary to pick up his 13th four in the next over. Robson cut away to pick up his first four of the day and Leicestershire now had 100 on the board.

A single followed, and Eckersley then picked up three before Robson cut another four as 12 came from the 28th over. A drive from Eckersley off Howell then raced to the fence to record the 100-run alliance.

Eckersley on-drove Howell for six in the next over before a chance came next ball. The batsman struck to Michael Klinger in the gully but the chance went to ground. That did not prove too costly as the introduction of Tom Smith’s slow left arm proved to be Eckersley’s downfall.

After Robson picked up two fours in the 37th over bowled by Matt Taylor (15-8-28-0), Eckersley was bowled on the sweep by Smith (19-8-33-3). Robson then drove for four before Boyce produced a tremendous sweep to open his boundary account.

A cruel moment then arrived as Robson nicked W Gidman (10.5-3-28-4) through to Roderick one shy of his half-century. Given Robson had to bat 15 overs last night, it had been a real test of character for the young opener - and he passed it with flying colours.

The double loss shortly before lunch was a blow to County, who went in on 158-3 with Boyce (6*) and Shiv Thakor (3*) at the wicket. The afternoon session started nicely the duo picked up two boundaries apiece but the reintroduction of Smith again proved a wise move.

The spinner trapped Boyce (19, 53b) leg before on the back foot with the first ball of his second spell, and although Thakor (17, 56b) and Josh Cobb (6, 26b) set about establishing a partnership, the duo were dismissed in the space of 22 deliveries.

Cobb hit Miles (11-3-42-1) for four but was caught at the wicket by Roderick off the next ball, and Thakor was run out in another Miles over after being sent back by Ben Raine.

Raine struck a trio of fours off Smith as he and James Sykes took the score to 218, but Sykes’ 31-ball knock was ended as he pushed forward to Smith and was caught behind. Tea was taken with the score at 231-7 with Raine on 19 and Freckingham 7.

Freckingham enjoyed himself after the interval by striking four further boundaries in his best first-class innings to date, including a marvellous cover drive, but the session belonged to W Gidman.

The all-rounder had the battling Raine (19, 67b) well caught in the cordon by Klinger before bowling Matthew Hoggard (0, 3b) and Freckingham (30, 43b) with balls that nipped back to become the fifth player in Gloucestershire’s history to take ten wickets and score a century in the same game.

Leicestershire now have two LV=CC fixtures remaining, starting with next Wednesday’s LV=CC trip to leaders Lancashire (10.30am start). The season finishes against Hampshire at Grace Road on Tuesday, September 17 (also 10.30am start).


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