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Report

Ed Middleton's composed innings ensures draw for Gloucestershire

Graeme van Buuren was 48 not out in an unbroken 77-run stand with debutant against Derbyshire

Graeme van Buuren steers behind point, Glamorgan vs Gloucestershire, County Championship, Division Two, Cardiff, September 13, 2021

Graeme van Buuren steers behind point  •  Getty Images

Gloucestershire 377 (O Price 132, Dal 6-69) and 208 for 6 (van Buuren 48*, Middleton 39*, Thomson 4-79) drew with Derbyshire 403 (du Plooy 108, Reece 77, Came 68, Gohar 5-122)
Ed Middleton marked his first class debut with a composed innings to ensure Gloucestershire of a draw on the final day of the LV= Insurance County Championship match with Derbyshire at the Seat Unique Stadium, Bristol.
After bowling their opponents out for 403 from an overnight 398 for 9, the hosts had slipped to 131 for 6 in their second innings, a precarious lead of 105, when 22-year-old Middleton walked out to join skipper Graeme van Buuren.
Together the pair snuffed out any hope of a Derbyshire victory, Middleton making 39 and van Buuren 48 in an unbroken stand of 77 that saw their side to 208 for 6 at the close. Off-spinner Alex Thomson finished with 4 for 79.
The result left both teams without a Championship win this season. They had to settle for 11 points apiece from a largely forgettable encounter.
A draw looked long odds-on favourite at the start of play, with Derbyshire leading by 21 with only one first-innings wicket hand. They were able to add just five runs before last man Pat Brown fell leg before to Zafar Gohar.
Skipper Leus du Plooy was left unbeaten on 108, having taken his Championship run tally for the season to 1,160 at an average of 89.23, while Gohar's wicket gave him figures of 5 for 122.
The pitch had offered little assistance to the seamers all match and there were few problems for Gloucestershire openers Chris Dent and Ben Charlesworth in taking the second-innings score to 31 in ten overs before Derbyshire turned to spin in the shape of left-armer Mark Watt.
The hosts looked intent on batting out the day and the stand had been extended to 68 before Charlesworth was bowled by Watt for 27 attempting a reverse sweep. Gloucestershire suffered another setback from the last ball before lunch when James Bracey, on eight, pushed forward to Thomson and edged to Wayne Madsen at first slip.
At 83 for 2, the home side were 57 ahead. The third ball after the interval saw Chris Dent, who had played well for his 38, bowled between bat and pad by Watt with a ball that turned from outside the left-hander's off stump.
Derbyshire sensed an opportunity. Miles Hammond had made only 12 when well caught low down by Harry Came at second slip off Thomson. And when first-innings centurion Ollie Price became the second Gloucestershire player to be dismissed reverse sweeping, top edging a catch to short leg via a deflection off wicketkeeper Brooke Guest, the scoreboard read 111 for 5.
That became 131 for 6 when Gohar swept a comfortable catch to Pat Brown at backward square to give Thomson his fourth wicket and Gloucestershire were in danger of self-destructing. They led by only 105 with a possible 43 overs left in the day's play.
Fortunately for the hosts, 22-year-old Middleton was ready to adopt a more textbook approach to trying to save the game against a turning ball, taking few risks and producing the shot of the day with a straight driven boundary off seamer Brown.
By tea, he and van Buuren had taken the total to 169 for 6 and, while not entirely out of the woods, Gloucestershire led by a more healthy 143 with 32 overs remaining. A shortened final session saw the pair able to play with more freedom in bright sunshine.
By the time the players shook hands at 4.20pm, van Buuren had led from the front, facing 100 balls and hitting six fours, while Exeter-born Middleton emerged with equal credit from a 91-ball innings also featuring six boundaries.
Ultimately, the only winner was a largely docile pitch that made it a tough four days for bowlers on both sides in what was often energy-sapping heat.

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County Championship Division Two

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