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July 2, 2014
Essex 541 (Bopara 147, Ryder 133, Westley 71, Browne 65, Taylor 4-125) and 10 for 0 beat Gloucestershire 224 (Topley 5-53, Masters 4-67) and 325 (Gidman 53, Rouse 49, Ryder 3-43) by 10 wickets
James Foster equalled his county's record for the most dismissals in a match by a wicketkeeper for the second time as Essex beat Gloucestershire by 10 wickets at Chelmsford.
By a strange coincidence, it was against the same team that he joined David East (1983) and Kenneth Gibson (1911) at the top of the list when he bagged nine victims at Bristol five years ago.
On this occasion, he claimed three catches in the second innings to go with the six victims claimed on the opening day to pave the way for Essex's first Championship victory since the opening match of the campaign.
Foster collected his ninth catch in the first over after lunch when Jack Taylor was pinned on the back foot as Jesse Ryder found the edge.
Gloucestershire had resumed the day on 194 for 4, still requiring a further 133 to avoid an innings defeat, and needing something spectacular and substantial from the last of their recognised batsmen, Ian Cockbain and Will Gidman.
But such hopes were quickly extinguished as both were sent back to the pavilion during the first dozen overs of the morning.
Cockbain departed when Ryan ten Doeschate found enough outswing and lift to have him caught at first slip by Ryder while Gidman was undone by Monty Panesar as the left-arm spinner found just enough turn to beat his tentative push.
After that, it was only a matter of time before Essex were able to celebrate their first Championship success since beating Derbyshire in April.
With David Masters missing from the attack on the final day with a foot injury, Gloucestershire's tailenders did at least make a fight of it. Adam Rouse and Tom Smith added 40 in nine overs, a partnership that was brought to an end when Smith was bowled shouldering arms.
It was Ryder who then struck with successive deliveries in the first over after lunch. Firstly, he had Jack Taylor caught by Foster to give the Essex captain a share of the wicket-keeping record and, with his next delivery, he bowled David Payne.
That brought together Rouse and Matt Taylor to provide dogged resistance as they added 52 runs and in doing so both registered career-best efforts.
Essex used six bowers in an attempt to break the stand but the pair, amid dogged defence, also produced a few sweetly-timed drives before ten Doeschate at last broke through by trapping Rouse lbw when he was within one run of what would have been a deserved half-century.
Matt Taylor was left unbeaten on 32, leaving Essex with the formality of scoring nine runs to bag a maximum haul of 24 points from the match. Tom Westley and Nick Browne needed just nine deliveries to reach the winning post as the visitors were left with just two points for their efforts.
Essex head coach Paul Grayson said: "It was a good team performance and shows what we are capable of. It certainly gives us a great deal of confidence going into our next Championship game with Derbyshire at Chesterfield next week."
Gloucestershire director of cricket John Bracewell added: `"It was one of those games where the toss was quite important but, having said that, I thought it was a very good wicket for four-day cricket. We should really have got 350 in our first innings but you can't lose the first two days and expect to fight back successfully.''
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