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RESULT
34th Match, Cheltenham, June 30 - July 03, 2024, County Championship Division Two
179 & 610/5d
(T:593) 197 & 592

Match tied

Report

James Bracey, Cameron Bancroft bat Gloucestershire into command against Glamorgan

Bracey posts 204* and Bancroft 184 as home side reach 610 for 5 declared

James Bracey continued his run of good form, Sussex vs Gloucestershire, County Championship, Division Two, Hove, April 19, 2024

James Bracey made a double-century to grind down Glamorgan  •  Getty Images

Glamorgan 197 (Crane 44, Webster 7-17) and 222 for 3 (Labuschagne 67*, Northeast 47*) need another 371 runs to beat Gloucestershire 179 and 610 for 5 dec (Bracey 204*, Bancroft 159*, Hammond 121)
James Bracey etched his name into the record books as Gloucestershire batted themselves into a position of strength on the third day of the Vitality County Championhip Second Division match against Glamorgan at Cheltenham.
The former England left-hander registered a career-best 204 not out and became only the tenth player to score a double century at the famous College Ground, joining a select club that includes the likes of Gloucestershire greats WG Grace, Charlie Townsend and Wally Hammond.
Overseas batsman Cameron Bancroft posted 184 and fellow Australian Beau Webster contributed an unbeaten 65 as the home side ran up 610 for 5 before declaring their second innings shortly after lunch. Among the Glamorgan bowlers, only Timm van der Gugten emerged with any credit, the Dutch international seamer finishing with 2 for 98 from 22 overs on a day some of his teammates will want to forget in a hurry.
Marnus Labuschagne and Sam Northeast summoned stiff resistance in an unbroken fourth-wicket stand of 66 in the final session, but Gloucestershire nevertheless made inroads into the top order to reduce Glamorgan to 222 for 3 at the close, still 370 behind.
All three results remain possible, but Welsh focus will, first and foremost, be upon trying to save the game when they resume in the morning. A weather forecast that suggests the chance of showers, might yet serve to frustrate Gloucestershire's pursuit of what would be only their second win of the season.
Weary following a long stint in the field and faced with the not inconsiderable prospect of batting out nearly five sessions to save the game, Glamorgan still made a decent start to their second innings, Billy Root and Eddie Byrom staging an opening stand of 67.
It soon became apparent that Gloucestershire's bowlers would have to graft hard for a breakthrough, and there was a sense of relief when Root, having scored 46, top-edged Marchant de Lange to deep fine leg where Ajeet Singh Dale took a very fine catch on the run.
Labuschagne then survived a testing examination at the hands of De Lange as the home side pushed hard, Gloucestershire skipper Graeme van Buuren deploying six bowlers in an attempt to make further headway. Having proved obdurate in chiselling 37 from 100 balls and playing second fiddle to Labuschagne in a stand of 68, Byrom was eventually undone by a misjudgment, shouldering arms to a delivery from Singh Dale that knocked back off stump.
Kiran Carlson then came and went quickly, pushing at a length ball from Matt Taylor that stuck in the pitch and edging a catch behind via a thin edge as the visitors slipped to 156 for 3. But Labuschagne and Northeast have made 67 and 47 not out respectively and will again seek to block Gloucestershire's route to victory in the morning.
Confronted with a new ball soon after resuming their second innings on 388 for 3, Gloucestershire continued to score at a brisk rate in the morning session, Bracey raising his third first-class hundred of the year and the twelfth of his career from 131 balls with a push to square leg and a scampered single off van der Gugten to warm those Gloucestershire supporters who braved a cold north wind.
As on the previous day, Bancroft provided the adhesive upon which Gloucestershire's second innings was constructed, the experienced opener staging mammoth stands of 201 and 253 with Miles Hammond and Bracey for the third and fourth wickets respectively. His style of patient accumulation may not have caught the eye in the same way that Hammond's elegant stroke-play did on day two, but his remorseless stamina and mental toughness served Gloucestershire's cause well and earned him a standing ovation from appreciative Festival-goers when his marathon sojourn finally came to an end after six and a half hours.
The Australian's highest score of the summer occupied 266 balls, was adorned by 20 fours and a six and did much to undermine Glamorgan spirit, reducing the visitors to slope-shouldered dejection as their prospects dwindled. No wonder Andy Gorvin manifested unbridled relief when locating Bancroft's outside edge and presenting Cooke with a straightforward opportunity behind the stumps.
In stark contrast, van Buuren bagged a pair, nicking Dan Douthwaite behind without scoring as Gloucestershire progress was temporarily stalled. Unfazed by events at the other end, Bracey pulled Douthwaite over square leg for six to bring up his 150 as the lead approached 500.
He and Webster then required just 56 balls to post a stand of 50, these two raising the tempo in the run-up to lunch, which was taken with Gloucestershire on 534-5. A few eyebrows were raised when the anticipated declaration was still not forthcoming, but Bracey took full advantage of the delay to pass his previous highest score of 177, made in a losing cause against Yorkshire at Bristol in April 2022. He attained that landmark by pulling Mason Crane's leg spin over mid-wicket for a towering six.
Bracey went to his maiden double hundred with a swept four behind square off Carlson and he had faced 231 balls and harvested 20 fours and 4 sixes when the declaration arrived soon afterwards. Making the most of some tired bowling, Webster contributed an unbeaten 68-ball 65 in an unbroken alliance of 136 for the sixth wicket in 20.2 overs.

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