Klinger ton sees Gloucestershire home
Gloucestershire 247 for 7 (Klinger 107, Groenewald 3-53) beat Somerset 244 for 7 (Hildreth 85*, Gregory 62) by three wickets
A Michael Klinger century guided Gloucestershire to a three-wicket win over Somerset at Bristol and maintained their strong position in the Royal London Cup Group A.
The experienced Australian mastered a tricky pitch to score 107 off 133 balls, with five fours and four sixes, as his side chased down a target of 245 with two deliveries to spare. Kieran Noema-Barnett contributed 34.
Somerset had looked out of it at 88 for 6 after winning the toss, but James Hildreth's unbeaten 85 off 95 balls and 62 from Lewis Gregory gave them a competitive total. Benny Howell returned 1 for 24 from 10 overs.
The outcome was in the balance until the penultimate over of the Gloucestershire reply when Jack Taylor launched two sixes off Tim Groenewald. Strangely, Somerset skipper Jim Allenby bowled only six overs, having conceded just 20 runs.
The visitors' top-order batsmen failed to come to terms with the slow wicket, although Tom Abell was unlucky to be caught behind down the leg side off David Payne with the total on 16. James Fuller beat Peter Trego's defensive shot to bowl him from 14 and then yorked Adam Hose after the young opener had moved to 21 in the 14th over.
Tom Cooper was bowled playing across a ball from Howell before Allenby played a dreadful shot to be caught behind off Craig Miles. When the recalled Alex Barrow was bowled playing forward defensively to Miles for 17, Somerset were in danger of being embarrassed.
Hildreth and Gregory were forced to play watchfully and were content to preserve their wickets for a while to rebuild the innings. It was a plan that bore fruit in the closing overs. Their half-centuries were almost identical statistically, Hildreth's coming off 72 balls, with four fours, and Gregory's off one fewer deliveries with the same number of boundaries.
A century stand in 22 overs paved the way for a late assault that saw 65 runs come off the last five as Gloucestershire's bowling lost its previously commendable discipline.
When Gloucestershire replied, Groenewald produced a superbly accurate six-over spell of 1 for 9, including three maidens, from the Pavilion End, having Chris Dent well caught at short fine leg by Gregory for 16.
Gregory was unable to match Groenewald's immaculate line and length, but when Jack Leach replaced him the left-arm spinner quickly trapped Gareth Roderick lbw to make it 43 for 2 in the 11th over.
Klinger was content to rein himself in, particularly against the impressive spin off Max Waller, but put his team in sight of victory with a 123-ball hundred that mixed fine application with the occasional sweet boundary. Noema-Barnett was dropped on 23 and leant good late support in a fascinating, if low-scoring, contest.