Gloucestershire keep promotion bid alive
Gloucestershire 394 and 54 for 0 beat Leicestershire 135 and 311 (f/o) by 10 wickets
Gloucestershire completed an emphatic 10-wicket win over rock-bottom Leicestershire to keep alive their hopes of promotion from Division Two of the County Championship. In overcast conditions, the Gloucestershire bowlers were always on top despite a fighting 63 from Ned Eckersley, as David Payne added a further three wickets to his first-innings six to finish with match figures of 9 for 96. He received good support from Ian Saxelby as Leicestershire lost their last five wickets for 34 runs.
The home side then wasted little time in knocking off the 53 runs required for a timely victory, as the rain threatened to derail their progress. Gloucestershire remain in fourth place and play at second-placed Northamptonshire in their final match next week.
Resuming on 255 for 4 after a delayed start, overnight batsmen Eckersley and Wayne White both added driven boundaries early on to take their fifth-wicket partnership to 51 before Eckersley lost his off stump to Saxelby attempting an extravagant drive against the new ball. That left Leicestershire on 277 for 5, only 18 runs in front, but White continued to keep the Gloucestershire bowlers at bay and found support from Rob Taylor as the bowlers looked for another breakthrough.
The home side were further frustrated when bad light and drizzle forced the players off and an early lunch was taken but on the resumption, Saxelby and Payne struck as the Leicestershire innings subsided. The rot set in when White departed after making 31, run out by a direct hit from Will Gidman as the batsman attempted a second run.
With Will Jefferson still feeling the effects of the hand injury that forced him to retire hurt on Friday, White's dismissal was the crucial breakthrough for Gloucestershire, and the tail departed quickly as Payne snapped up two more wickets to take his match tally to nine.
First he had Taylor edging to wicketkeeper Richard Coughtrie, and in his next over trapped Jigar Naik lbw not offering a shot. The left-arm seamer was denied the first 10-wicket haul of his career when Kane Williamson dropped Nathan Buck at second slip, but the Leicestershire innings soon came to an end as Matthew Hoggard, attempting to hook Saxelby, toe-ended the ball to Jon Lewis at mid-on where the veteran, in his last home match for the county, took a low catch.
Leicestershire were all out for 311, leaving Gloucestershire needing just 53 to win, and openers Chris Dent and Coughtrie hit seven boundaries as the home side reached 54 without loss in just nine overs to secure the victory that ensures that their hopes of promotion go to the wire.