Gidman helps Gloucestershire to victory
Gloucestershire 206 and 292 beat Kent 208 and 245 by 45 runs
Gloucestershire clinched their second win in three County Championship Division Two games with a 45-run success over Kent at Canterbury.
Will Gidman proved the West Country hero with a return of three for 37 including the scalp of Azhar Mahmood, who had looked capable of seeing Kent home to an unlikely victory target of 291.
Mahmood, the former Pakistan Test all-rounder, hit 10 boundaries in a 119-ball innings of 70 as injury-hit Kent made a brave tilt at their target. Number 10 Robbie Joseph, hampered by a thigh strain, came out with a runner to help the cause and then last man Joe Denly, who broke his thumb in the field on Tuesday, emerged to try to help Azhar to the winning line.
With 45 needed Azhar worked across a good length ball from Gidman only to be given out leg before and give Gloucestershire their 21-point win. Resuming on their overnight total of 52 for 2, Kent appeared to be set for the long haul as Martin van Jaarsveld and Geraint Jones dug in, adding only 49 in the opening hour.
In all, the third-wicket partners added 64 in just under 19 overs before Kent's run chase quickly unravelled with the loss of four wickets for seven runs in the space of 16 balls. Jones (40) missed an expansive drive to be bowled by promising left-arm seamer David Payne then Darren Stevens (three) was squared up on the back foot by Hamish Marshall to spoon a catch to short extra cover via a leading edge.
Van Jaarsveld's 89-minute stay for 32 ended when he opened the face and attempted a run-down to third man against Payne, only to be superbly caught one-handed at second slip by Ian Cockbain to make it 124 for five.
After a change of ends, Cockbain was in action again to catch the very next ball at slip, this time at the second attempt, after James Tredwell's firm-handed push at a Marshall leg-cutter. Azhar and Adam Ball (13) survived until lunch but soon after the resumption Ball's audacious attempt to pull through mid-wicket against Ian Saxelby ended up in the hands of Jon Lewis at mid-on.
Simon Cook then joined forces with Azhar to add an entertaining 70 in 20.4 overs for the eighth wicket but, with 69 still needed to win, Cook got an inside edge to a Gidman delivery that jagged back off the seam and Jonathan Batty pulled off a sharp catch.
Batty was again at his best to hold on to a thin edge off Gidman from Joseph, then opening bat Denly emerged as an emergency number 11 despite his fractured thumb as Kent pushed all the way. But it proved in vain as the hosts ended up with just four points from the match.