Lancashire v Gloucestershire, Aigburth, 4th day June 1, 2013

Gidman, Marshall just deny Lancs

Paul Edwards at Aigburth

Gloucestershire 222 (Gidman 110, Kerrigan 5-68) and 173 for 9 drew with Lancashire 310 (Katich 96, Miles 6-88) and 270 (Prince 64, Croft 64, McCarter 4-95)

A match which had never lacked interest throughout its four days had a fitting conclusion when Gloucestershire's No. 11 Liam Norwell played Andrea Agathangelou's final delivery of the game safely to gully to secure a draw against Lancashire.

That outcome will have cheered Michel Klinger's men, some of whom had defied Lancashire's six-man attack with outstanding technical skill, but it was, of course, a colossal frustration for Glen Chapple and his team, who probably thought that Aigburth was going to supply them with another victory that would shred the nerves before lifting the heart.

But when they review this match the Lancashire hierarchy will assess their decision to bat on for 6.3 overs at the start of the day add 31 runs to their overnight score and extend their lead to 358. Gloucestershire's batsmen never appeared remotely interested in chasing this target down but the same may not have been quite so true of the overnight lead of 327.

Batting a side out of the game has become the norm for many teams these days in preference to setting a tempting target and invites a more attacking strategy. For spectators and players this diminution of cricket's tactical nuances is a great shame. Many Lancashire supporters were hoping their team would declare overnight; many others were bemoaning the decision not have done so when Gloucestershire's last pair survived. It was difficult to supply an effective counter-argument. Sometimes you really do have to run a slight risk of losing a match in order to give yourselves the best chance of winning it. It's an old song but it's still a good 'un.

None of which sermonising should detract from the enthralling sport which both sides provided for the Liverpool public. No Gloucestershire batsman scored a half-century and no Lancashire bowler took more than two wickets and this was strangely appropriate too: these four days have been more about collective effort than individual brilliance.

Nevertheless, the major contributors to Gloucestershire's resistance on the last day of this match were Alex Gidman, who made 46 before becoming Agathangelou's first Championship victim when he played back to the offspinner's quicker ball, and Hamish Marshall, who faced 206 balls for his technically accomplished 44.

Agathangelou was to claim the ninth wicket, that of Graeme McCarter, in addition to taking the catches at short leg and slip that disposed of Michael Klinger and Craig Miles. Agathangelou , a South African-born Cypriot, is rapidly turning into a mighty useful first-team cricketer.

All the same, in the middle portion of the innings, Lancashire's bowlers never took wickets with the sort of rapidity required if they were to win the game. Kyle Hogg removed both Chris Dent and Dan Housego and Simon Kerrigan claimed the key wicket of Klinger to leave Gloucestershire 60 for 3 just after lunch but Gidman and Marshall's fourth-wicket stand of 54 occupied 29 vital overs. Marshall then found Benny Howell an equally obdurate partner until Kerrigan trapped Howell lbw for 17 to begin a period of play which saw four wickets fall in twelve overs and the refrain of "Oh Lanky, Lanky" echo around the ground.

In the event it wasn't quite enough. Ed Young defied a wrist-injury to come out and bat 6.1 overs with Graeme McCarter, this after Marshall had been dismissing fending Wayne White to Ashwell Prince. White even hit McCarter on the head but he held out until the penultimate ball of the 99th and last over of the innings. Norwell then needed to show a bit of nerve in facing the last delivery. He did so, and Gloucestershire survived. What's more, no one could really begrudge them their draw.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mark on June 2, 2013, 19:07 GMT

    Yes, Somerset, who looked out of it, pulled a great win out of the fire and have much better NRR. Why can't we bat like this in First Class matches? As you say, tough to qualify, but when was the last time that, at this stage, we we still in with a chance. If we win the next two we can start to believe.

  • John on June 2, 2013, 18:41 GMT

    Excellent result today Stargazer, shame Somerset won in the end. Would be good to qualify form the group, but it is going to be tough. I see that our seconds beat Somerset seconds in a three day game last week and so perhaps the talent is there, but it needs to stay fit and healthy.

  • Mark on June 2, 2013, 17:48 GMT

    Fuller, Nowell, Saxelby plus one of Miles and McCarter would be a very useful seam attack. The weakness is the lack of a credible spinner but, if conditions continue to be cool and seaming you can survive that and should play to your strengths (ie don't select a spinner just to make up the XI). Not too many Division 2 pitches turn square anyway. It is a pity that we have lose the useful spin of Kane Williamson though - if he were still in the side I wouldn't bother with a spinner at all!

    I see that today the batting is having the sort of day that we have all too rarely in the Championship (look at the contrast with yesterday). The win should consolidate us at the top of the YB40 Group C, especially with Leics and Somerset losing. Qualification will still be tough but, who would have expected us to be in with a chance still after 6 games? Could this help the side build some confidence?

  • John on June 2, 2013, 17:24 GMT

    I think we broadly agree Stargazer. We just have to learn to compete in every game, hope that a couple of our young bowlers press on and set themselves up to get 50 wickets in season, that the Gidmans stay fit and that somehow the batters can gain in confidence. And that one of the spinners can chip in with some wickets. Which of the younger bowlers do you and others rate the best? I saw Fuller and Norwell skittle Northants last September and thought they looked promising, and saw McCarter do well in a one day match (Lord's last year I think). Haven't managed to see Miles yet but his figures look the best. And if I was a betting man I would still put money on Lancs to go up.

  • mark on June 2, 2013, 10:20 GMT

    First thing to say, a cracking game of cricket, and very good that we are able to follow commentary on BBC local radio. I'd've been amazed had Lancs had declared overnight. We should've done, but we don't. I can't even be bothered to moan at Chappie anymore; he is a revered leader and a wonderful player, but he isn't and I don't think ever will be, an imaginative captain; he just doesn't have it in him to take anything approaching a risk over a result. As well as this game and the bore draw with Hants, worth remembering that the games Lancs have won have been due to them being bowled out cheaply twice at Glamorgan and then rain meaning Essex were willing to take a massive punt to try and win, something we don't do and it may well cost us again in declaration games.

    This hasn't started with Chappie either; the last imaginative leader Lancs had was David Hughes. Everyone since has been safety first.


  • Ben on June 2, 2013, 9:16 GMT

    I'm not sure Lancashire ARE going to be repromoted if they play like this. Thanks, lads, ( Lancs. ), for messing this one up. You've allowed Worcestershire to stay in a very competitive position a hair's breadth behind you in the table, even though you have a game in hand. Had you won this match, both you and Northants. would now have clear water between yourselves and the pursuing pack, which, as we approach the halfway point in the campaign, would have counted for something.

  • John on June 2, 2013, 7:12 GMT

    Amazed Lancs batted on in the morning but very pleased with the draw which I feel GCCC deserved given their injury list and only having 10 men. I see we have called up a 17 year spinner for the YB40 game today. I hope one or two of our bowlers go on to have the sort of career that Chapple has had, and they seem to be learning fast. I don't know about getting into the promotion mix as Stargazer mentions, I would be happy with finishing two or three of the bottom this season. Lancs will surely go up though.

  • Stephen on June 2, 2013, 7:04 GMT

    Good to finally see a bit of grit from a glos batting performance. With Saxelby and will gidders still to come back from injury we might have the makings of a half decent side. Still think I'd like to see Cockbain back in the 1st class side though. Shades of the Leicester game last year when middlebrook bowled 784 overs in the final day - just on that occasion Norwell couldn't survive the final few balls.

  • Des on June 1, 2013, 22:05 GMT

    @Mr.CrickCheat; spot on. We did not deserve to win the match being so negative. I was there and was actually quite glad. I would have been even more glad if I thought Lancs might learn their lesson but sadly there is no chance of that.