Northants continue impressive start
Northamptonshire 404 (Wakely 88, Middlebrook 62, Crook 53) and 90 for 3 beat Gloucestershire 192 (Willey 4-71) and 299 (Gidman 87, Howell 56, Dent 50, Crook 4-48) by seven wickets
Northamptonshire strengthened their position at the top of Division Two with a seven-wicket victory over Gloucestershire at Bristol.
The hosts began the final day on 280 for 9 in their second innings, leading by only 68, and added 19 runs in 25 minutes before being bowled out for 299, Jack Taylor last man out for 48. That left Northamptonshire requiring 88 to win and, despite some spirited Gloucestershire bowling, which accounted for Kyle Coetzer, Stephen Peters and Alex Wakely, they passed their target of 88 just before lunch.
Northants took a maximum 24 points from the game, while Gloucestershire had to be content with three. To compound their disappointment, neither Benny Howell nor Liam Norwell fielded in the Northants' second innings because of injuries.
Taylor produced some defiant blows, including a six over wide long-on off Trent Copeland, in adding 12 to his overnight score. His resistance ended when he got a bottom edge on to his stumps to give Steven Crook his fourth wicket of the innings, seventh of the match and 18th of the season.
A bitterly cold day stayed dry for Northants, who contrived to lose openers Coetzer and Peters with only 18 on the board. Coetzer was first to go, well taken low down by Taylor at midwicket off David Payne for 5, then Peters miscued a leg-side shot to substitute fielder Graeme McCarter off Will Gidman and departed for 7.
Wakely counterattacked with a brisk 20, hitting Taylor's offspin for a straight six and a four through wide long-on. But in the same over he mishit another attacking shot to Chris Dent at midwicket to leave the visitors 51 for 3.
The reassuring presence of David Sales was at the wicket by then. He and Rob Newton saw Northants safely to their modest target, Sales ending unbeaten on 29.