Norwell 10 brings Gloucestershire first win
Gloucestershire 245 (Handscomb 66, Porter 4-59) and 114 for 1 (Tavaré 57) beat Essex 159 (Norwell 4-32) and 199 (Velani 58, Norwell 6-33) by nine wickets
Liam Norwell returned career-best figures of 6 for 33 to help guide Gloucestershire to a nine-wicket victory over Essex, their first victory at Chelmsford since 1930.
Norwell found lift to undermine Essex's second innings as the hosts were bowled out for 199 after resuming on 91 for 4 to set Gloucestershire 114 to win the match. Half centuries from openers Chris Dent and Will Tavare ensured Gloucestershire reached the victory target with ease to earn their first win of the season.
Norwell had Essex in trouble early on during the morning session when he bowled James Foster without him adding to his overnight 13. The 23-year-old fast bowler, who took four wickets in 16 balls in the first innings, quickly followed that by finding a way through the defence of Greg Smith, leaving Essex relying on Kishen Velani and Graham Napier - the last of their recognised batsmen - to launch a recovery.
But it never materialised. Napier had scored only 4 when he cut a wide delivery from Craig Miles into the hands of Dent at second slip to give him his fifth catch of the match.
Velani did his best to keep the innings afloat with several well-timed drives and deflections off his legs. The 20-year-old reached his first Championship half-century, from 81 balls, before he and Adeel Malik were sent packing in the same over by fast bowler David Payne. Both offered up simple catches to Peter Handscomb in the covers, leaving Norwell to bring the innings to a close by bowling Jamie Porter to finish with match figures of 10 for 65 - a maiden 10-wicket haul.
It left Gloucestershire with a modest target to reel in their first Championship triumph of the season - and the Essex bowlers needing to perform heroics if they were to prevent them from doing so. But it quickly became obvious that the visitors were in no mood to surrender the initiative Norwell had given them.
Tavare and Dent made sure of that with a series of well-struck strokes either side of the wicket. Tavare completed his half-century, from 57 deliveries, with a sumptuous cover-drive off Porter. The bowler gained some consolation when the opener turned the ball into the hands of Dan Lawrence, but by then the visitors were only eight runs shy of victory.
Dent dispatched Malik to the ropes in the 21st over to record his second half-century of the match before he secured victory with a single off Porter in the very next over. Gloucestershire collected 19 points from the match, with Essex earning three.
After watching his side record their first win of the season, Gloucestershire head coach Richard Dawson said: "I think it was a good cricket wicket.All our bowlers performed exceptionally well over the three days and for a squad of young bowlers, their performance was very encouraging. We bowled with discipline and we were consistent in the way we were hitting our lengths. We've been asking for improvements from our bowlers and they've done it.
"But it was the overall team performance which has given me a lot of satisfaction. Chris Dent batted exceptionally well in both innings and Pete Handscomb's first innings score and his partnership with David Payne helped give us what was a an important first innings lead. We've also fielded better than we have done recently so I can't fault the lads for their performance."
Essex Head coach Paul Grayson saw his side slump to their first defeat of the campaign: "We've played some outstanding four-day cricket over the last 12 games or so and at some stage, we were bound to lose a game. In this game after the first hour, Gloucestershire have been the better side. We beat Kent here, we played well at The Oval against Surrey last week and maybe this defeat is a kick up the backside for us. We won't beat ourselves up and we'll learn from what's happened in this game."