Middlebrook grabs late win
Northamptonshire 411 (Middlebrook 121) and 246 for 5 dec. beat Gloucestershire 268 (Marshall 117) and 268 (Middlebrook 5-63) by 121 runs
James Middlebrook took five wickets as Northamptonshire claimed their second win of the season. The hosts declared on 246 for 5 at the start of the day, giving their opponents a target of 390. However, Gloucestershire fell short as they were bowled out for 268.
Middlebrook, who scored 121 as an opener in the hosts' first innings, took 5 for 63 from 44.2 overs, with his final wicket coming with two minutes of the match remaining when he trapped Liam Norwell lbw.
Gloucestershire's opening pairing of Benny Howell and Chris Dent easily made it through the first hour of the day as they piled on 101 for the first wicket. Howell, however, was given a reprieve on 25 when he was dropped by Lee Daggett at mid-off after he launched Middlebrook high into the air. He then went on to complete an assured half-century off 83 balls when he smashed Middlebrook down the ground for six.
Dent, however, was to fall on 38 when he edged South African spinner Con de Lange to wicketkeeper David Murphy to give the hosts a much-needed breakthrough.
Gloucestershire resumed on 119 for 1 after lunch, but they lost Kane Williamson for 10 when he was superbly caught at short leg by Kyle Coetzer off Middlebrook. It was suddenly game on when Howell walked on 70 when he edged a loose shot to Murphy off the bowling of David Willey.
Gloucestershire captain Alex Gidman (four) was the next to fall when he missed his attempted sweep off Middlebrook and his leg stump was knocked over. The visitors now knew that victory was beyond them, but Northamptonshire's tails were raised further when their captain Andrew Hall trapped Ian Cockbain lbw.
Gloucestershire limped in to tea on 190 for 5 but they were six down in the fourth over of the evening when Will Gidman's middle stump was sent spinning by Willey after he made 16.
Hamish Marshall, who struck an unbeaten 117 in the visitors' first innings, did his best to steady things with a half-century off 97 balls. But he was running out of partners, with Jonathan Batty (seven) the next to go when Hall pinned him lbw before Marshall himself departed on 61 in the same manner to Middlebrook.
Middlebrook then bowled Ed Young (10) before he sealed the 11th five-wicket haul of his first-class career when he dismissed Norwell (four) in the nick of time.