Gloucestershire exorcise Derbyshire ghosts
Gloucestershire 294 (Alex Gidman 129) and 85 for 3 beat Derbyshire 95 (Will Gidman 4-29) and 283 (Redfern 77, Will Gidman 4-50, Payne 4-89) by seven wickets
Two years ago in this same fixture, Derbyshire were dismissed for 44 on the first day. A little later in the match Gloucestershire were left needing merely 125 to win and yet were bowled out for 70. For a while on Friday, it appeared as if something similar could occur. The target was 85 and Jon Batty, playing as a makeshift opener due to Chris Dent having broken a finger, was out without a run on the board.
That, though, was as far as the comparison went. Gloucestershire had Kane Williamson to bat for them on this occasion and Graham Wagg, who took wickets that day, has left Derbyshire for Glamorgan. Nor was there the same movement as there had been on the first day of this match, when Derbyshire were bowled out for 95. They failed to recover as they had done in 2010, so handing a fine victory to Gloucestershire over the Division Two leaders.
Indeed, a fine week, given the county go-ahead for redevelopment of their Bristol ground. What they could do with is a few more spectators. Barely 200 were present to see them through to victory: those endless chants of 'Proctershire' rang out a long time ago. What was pleasing about this victory, from Gloucestershire's perspective, was the clinical way in which they achieved it. Derbyshire, resuming 12 runs to the good and with five wickets intact, were bowled out for 283 - a lead of 84.
Only Jon Clare, who was unbeaten with 43 including a swung six off David Payne, preoccupied the Gidman brothers, Gloucestershire's match-winners, for long, though Will failed to add to his four wickets. Dan Redfern, who was on 64 overnight, batted competently enough initially but was out to the first ball upon resumption after a brief rain break, driving tamely to cover off Payne. His 77 included seven fours and came off 131 balls.
By then, David Wainwright had been snaffled at first slip by Alex Gidman off Payne. The last three batsmen went leg-before in quick succession: Tom Poynton to Ian Saxelby and the last two, Tony Palladino and Tim Groenewald, to Payne in successive balls. It brought back memories of how Ray Julian, that much-loved umpire (except by tail-enders) would finish off an innings.
There was a further lbw adjudication. Batty went for a duck to Palladino, but that was just about that from Derbyshire's perspective. They did remove Benny Howell, who evidently felt the ball had looped to gully off his helmet and not a glove, but umpire George Sharp was unmoved. Howell, who is trying to establish himself following his move from Hampshire, initially stood his ground.
Williamson, having batted watchfully enough, surprisingly pulled Clare straight to deep square leg, well aware though he would have been of the positioning of the fielder. That was 63 for 3 but only a further 22 runs were required. What was more, the skipper, a man with 129 runs to his name in the first innings, had arrived at the crease. Now, appropriately, Alex Gidman hit the winning run, in partnership with Hamish Marshall.
"That defeat two years ago was the worst day of my career," said Alex Gidman. "Derbyshire are a good team and this result has probably done the rest of the second division a favour. When it resumes after T20, we shall be only a couple of matches from being in the hunt for promotion. Our bowlers have had an energy-sapping few weeks so we focused on bowling in short spells, executed our plans and had a bit of luck."