Gloucestershire cruise to comfortable win
Gloucestershire 343 and 146 for 3 (Gidman 70*, Cockbain 59*, Groenewald 2-25) beat Derbyshire 157 and 331 (Smith 130, Payne 5-76)
A Gloucestershire team featuring five Championship debutants got off to a winning start with a comprehensive seven-wicket victory over Derbyshire at Bristol. Starting the day on 19 for 1, chasing a target of 146, the home side slumped to 34 for 3 before skipper Alex Gidman joined young opener Ian Cockbain in an unbroken partnership of 112 that ensured 21 points. Derbyshire had to be content with three.
Cockbain's innings made it a memorable match for the three Gloucestershire players making first-class debuts. Liam Norwell took six wickets in the first innings and David Payne five in the second. With Richard Coughtrie and Will Gidman also making their first appearances in the Championship, new-look Gloucestershire could feel particularly pleased with their efforts.
In last season's corresponding match, their old guard failed chasing a target of only 125 to win in the final innings. That memory must have returned as Derbyshire struck two early blows on an overcast final day. Coughtrie had battled away for 26 balls to make only a single when his back foot defensive shot was beaten by Tim Groenewald and the bails were dislodged.
That was 27 for 2 and seven runs later the experienced Chris Taylor fell to a shot he will quickly want to forget, mistiming a pull off Tony Palladino straight to Dan Redfern at midwicket. But Cockbain, who signed for Gloucestershire last autumn after impressing with MCC Young Cricketers, showed good application to bat through the morning session.
Unbeaten on 10 overnight, he made good use of the square cut to capitalise on anything short and wide, while displaying an exemplary defence in moving to 46 by lunch. Alex Gidman was watchful to start with, but gradually accelerated to be unbeaten on 44 at lunch, which was taken at 107 for 3 with some dark clouds gathering.
Happily for Gloucestershire, they had cleared by the resumption. Gidman was first to his fifty, with a glorious cover driven four off Greg Smith, his seventh boundary in facing 61 balls. Cockbain got to his half-century with a straight driven two off Steffan Jones in the next over, having faced 116 deliveries and hit five fours. The opener then had the honour of hitting the winning single off the third ball of the 42nd over.