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Gloucestershire land stunning victory

Angus Robson made a career best score of 96 but Gloucestershire landed a remarkable nine-wicket win in the LV=CC match at Grace Road.

The game was nicely poised at the halfway stage but with a day lost to rain, Leicestershire had to force the issue if they were to land victory.

Robson again played beautifully in posting a fifth half-century of the summer in a second innings total of 241-5 declared. A hundred can’t be far away for the talented batsman, whose brother Sam was called into the England test squad today.

Josh Cobb weighed in with 50 not out before County set Gloucestershire 251 to win from a minimum of 39 overs.

It was always going to take some chasing but Leicestershire were without the experience of Charlie Shreck and the batsmen played extremely well.

Michael Klinger hit a stunning 129 from 124 balls in stands of 107 and 148 with Alex Gidman (37, 43b) and Benny Howell (78*, 58b) respectively.

Klinger was put down on a couple of occasions but to chase more than 250 in a session takes some doing – so as disappointing as the result was for Leicestershire, credit must go to the opposition.

After terrific work from the groundstaff, play was able to get underway on time after a couple of inspections from umpires David Millns and Martin Saggers.

Leicestershire resumed on 12-0 in their second innings but there was an early blow as Greg Smith edged Liam Norwell (14-3-50-1) to Geraint Jones in the first full over of the day. Robson and Ned Eckersley (34, 37b) then shared in excess of 50 for the second time in the game.

Robson clipped Will Gidman (15-5-37-1) through square leg for the day’s first boundary, and 11 came off the 8th over of the innings as Eckersley drove through mid-off for four and three respectively before Robson cut a boundary.

Eckersley pulled for four before Robson drove fours either side of the wicket as the in-form duo continued to impress. A drive through extra brought Robson another four while Eckersley again pulled to the fence as Howell entered the attack.

The partnership passed 50 in the 16th over and Eckersley drove and pulled Matt Taylor (10-0-67-0) for consecutive fours after the bowler opted to go around the wicket.

Robson drove Howell (11-2-42-1) through mid-on for four but a second wicket came as Will Gidman had Eckersley caught behind with his first ball of a second spell at the Bennett End.

The bowlers had a good period of pressure and Will Gidman was unlucky not to pick up a further success as Robson edged to Chris Dent at second slip. The ball went to ground and Robson responded emphatically with a straight driven four in the next over.

A Sarwan treble took the score into three figures and the overseas player then drilled consecutive fours through mid-on in the next over. The team went to 115-2 at lunch and Robson guided down to third man to move to 49 in the first over of the afternoon session.

Before completing another fifty from 123 balls with his ninth four, Howell had Sarwan (24, 38b) caught at the wicket by Jones. Robson thrice cracked behind point as he collected eleven more runs, and nicely timed strokes through extra and backward point brought the opener another couple of fours.

Cobb (50*, 77b) hit spinner Tom Smith (10.4-3-44-2) for two fours in his first over of the session and the stand then passed 50. Robson cut and pulled Gidman for further boundaries while Cobb drove Taylor through extra to take the lead to 200.

Robson cut a two to move within four of his century, but he was then trapped lbw by Smith agonisingly close to his maiden first-class century. Rob Taylor and Cobb then had a period of clean hitting as Leicestershire put their foot on the gas.

Rob Taylor (24, 13b) smashed Smith for two huge sixes before being caught on the long-off boundary by Alex Gidman off the spinner. Cobb had reached a 77-ball fifty (2x4) from the previous ball.

Tea was taken, so no overs were lost in the turnaround. Klinger hit two fours in the first over from Nathan Buck (9-0-62-0) and Alex Gidman pulled Alex Wyatt (6-0-41-0) away in the second over as Gloucestershire started with intent.

Klinger collected two more fours in both the fourth and sixth overs and Alex Gidman stroked through extra as the score reached 47-0 after seven overs. Jigar Naik (13.2-0-80-0) was into the attack for an early bowl and Klinger took the score past 50 with a brace of twos.

A cut from the Australian raced away in the next over and Klinger then moved to a 54-ball 50 (8x4). Alex Gidman hit two consecutive driven fours in the 15th over and the Gloucestershire 100 came up in the 18th courtesy of a straight Klinger maximum.

Rob Taylor (9-0-65-1) provided the breakthrough as Alex Gidman skied to Greg Smith at backward point with the score on 107. At the end of the 19th over, Gloucs needed 144 off 20 overs.

Klinger flicked Naik for four and Howell, who was promoted to three, smashed through the covers to open his boundary account. Naik bowled a couple of tight overs as County regained some control, and 115 runs were needed off the last 15 overs.

Buck then created an opportunity as Klinger was dropped by Wyatt at long leg, and Howell pulled a four later in the over. Klinger made County pay for the missed chance by hitting a six and three in Naik’s 10th over. The 150 then came up in that over with a Howell single.

Howell pulled a four before a two took the stand past 50 in the 27th over, and a cut from the number three also raced away as the chase came down to 80 off the last 10 overs. Howell struck a couple of sixes as 20 came off the next two overs to change the complexion.

The batsman then moved to a 41-ball 50 (4x4, 2x6) in the 32nd over and Klinger moved to three figures in the next over (109b, 10x4, 2x6) - but only three were conceded by Rob Taylor.

A hooked four from Klinger took the alliance into three figures and Howell also pulled for four as 15 came off the 34th over. Gloucestershire required 34 off five overs and after hitting another four, Klinger was put down by Greg Smith at mid-wicket in the next over. Klinger added insult to injury by pulling and cutting further fours, and 14 were gathered off the over in total.

Ten came from the next over, including a four over mid-off by Howell, and the number three hit another shot over the top as the visitors homed in on victory. Howell struck a six over mid-wicket to complete an unlikely win in the 38th over. Leicestershire's next game is in the NatWest T20 Blast against Worcestershire Rapids tomorrow night (5.30pm start), while Derbyshire visit for an LV=CC fixture on Sunday (11am start).

 
 

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