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Alex Winter at Canterbury
April 20, 2012
Kent 119 for 6 (W Gidman 3-23) trail Gloucestershire 255 (W Gidman 56) by 136 runs
The biggest winner so far in this game could actually be Durham. Four of their former players are on display at Canterbury - a demonstration of their riches. All of them moved on after finding their chances of forcing a way into Durham's powerful squad limited. One of them, Mark Davies, is happy to finally be playing regular cricket. He and Matt Coles took four wickets each in Gloucestershire's first innings.
Two wickets were taken in consecutive deliveries with the new ball by Davies - who had been at Durham since he was 16. The county's success hindered his chances. Injuries also prompted his departure with a year to run on his contract.
"It's good that other counties look at guys on the fringes of squads because there's a lot of talent out there," Davies said. "Kent's a good place to be. It's been nice working with new people. When I spoke to Jimmy Adams it was a no-brainer. He explained what he wanted from me and I was very comfortable providing it."
Adams, Kent's new head coach, might not have thought Davies and his bowlers provided exactly what he wanted as Gloucestershire added 124 for the last four wickets; Will Gidman and Ed Young adding 43 in an interrupted morning session.
Gidman, who left Durham for Gloucestershire before the start of last season, achieved a rare allrounder's double in 2011. He became the seventh man in history to score over 1,000 runs and take over 50 wickets in a season and the first man to break both milestones in their debut year. Nine wickets in Gloucestershire's victory at Hampshire last week put him on course again for another profitable year. Here he added a first half-century of the season.
It was simply careful batting. Gidman is not capable of much more but little else was necessary on a slow Canterbury wicket with the slope to negotiate. He put 30 more on his overnight score - playing Gloucestershire's position perfectly - which was shaky resuming 131 for 6.
The previous day's lacklustre batting gave way to two concerted innings. One from Gidman, whose fifth four, flicked to long leg - typical of his deflecting style - took him past fifty in 107 balls. The other knock was from Young, playing as Gloucestershire's specialist spinner. But his batting is the better side to his game.
Gidman needlessly ran himself out in the first over after lunch before Young woke up against the new ball, lifting Charlie Shreck over midwicket and driving him through mid off, taking 13 off Shreck's second over of a new spell. He also pulled Coles to the grass bank over midwicket, raising his own half-century in 105 balls.
Young also put on 50 with Paul Muchall - another who departed Durham for more cricket - and the pair pushed Gloucestershire to a batting point. David Payne's 10 helped them to another.
But the other ex-Durham man had a poor day. Ben Harmison, the batting brother of former England fast bowler Steve, made 12 before offering the second of four edges to Richard Coughtrie - another to hail from the north east. Three edges were produced by Gidman. He, Ian Saxelby and Payne - who's participation in the rest of the game is doubt because of a side strain - bowled better with the new ball than Kent's front three.
Their progress was halted by a brisk 90-ball innings from Darren Stevens. He played plenty of strokes - including a belting cover drive off Saxelby. He was beginning to dominate Young's left-arm spin before receiving a beauty - probably one of the best balls Young has ever bowled, certainly in first-class cricket - which turned and bounced up the slope to beat Stevens' outside edge. That wicket in the penultimate over of the day confirmed Gloucestershire's advantage.
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