Gidmans give Gloucestershire control
Gloucestershire 182 for 5 (A Gidman 72) lead Derbyshire 95 (W Gidman 4-29) by 87 runs
It is one thing to have a 26-point lead in the Division Two table, but quite another to look to extend that on a first morning at Nevil Road. Even if Jon Lewis was not bowling. Derbyshire won the toss and, full of bounce and optimism following their first victory at Chelmsford since 1937 and near-runaway progress altogether this season, were bowled out by Gloucestershire for merely 95.
True, they did muster no more than 130 against Glamorgan earlier this summer and, two years ago on this same ground, were bowled out for just 44 yet won the match. This innings, though, which finished shortly after lunch, was quite a surprise, not least because Gloucestershire possess what could be termed an emerging attack. David Payne had not played since suffering a side injury at Canterbury on April 21 and yet captured the first three wickets, including one with his first ball. Will Gidman accounted for four other batsmen and there were two indefensible run-outs.
There was no ECB pitch inspector on the ground - at least that Gloucestershire knew about or could be spotted - and there was no necessity for one given that the movement there was occurred through the air and not notably off the pitch, which was far from green in hue. The slip fielding was very smart, particularly by Chris Dent, who in taking one of his two catches at second slip unluckily broke the small finger on his right hand as he did last May. This fracture, according to the Gloucestershire physio, is not as bad, but inevitably he will be out of action for a while.
Dent's first catch, to remove Wayne Madsen, gave Payne his third wicket following the dismissals of Martin Guptill, who played on, and Matt Lineker (no relation to the footballing Gary, incidentally) who was playing for the first time this season and who was taken by Jon Batty. There was enough movement hereabouts for the bat to be beaten with regularity, and there was another fine catch, this by Ian Saxelby, to hold onto a top-edged pull by Dan Redfern. For Will Gidman, this was the first of three wickets in seven balls.
Wes Durston was smartly taken by Dent - this was the catch that broke his finger - and David Wainwright lost his off stump. Away swing from Saxelby accounted for Jon Clare and Tom Poynton. Two run outs finished off the innings: Ross Whiteley was sent back by Tony Palladino, who was himself beaten by a throw from Will Gidman. So poor judgement and the occasional extravagant shot, but the accuracy of the bowling merited praise.
It was David Allen, the president of Gloucestershire and former England offspinner, who summed up the conditions correctly - in other words, that it was possible to score runs. In the afternoon, when the sun was out and the bowling, at least after Batty had been dismissed fencing outside off stump at Palladino and Benny Howell was held at first slip off Tim Groenewald, appeared altogether less hostile, Kane Williamson and Alex Gidman batted with assurance in adding 81 off 31 overs.
Or maybe it was simply because Williamson is the best batsman playing in this match. Driving attractively, he reached his half-century with ten fours and had made 56 in all when Poynton held a diving catch off Groenewald. Gidman, partnered productively by Hamish Marshall until the latter lost his off stump driving at Whiteley, had reached 72 by the close.