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23rd Match, Leicester, May 17 - 20, 2024, County Championship Division Two
(f/o) 371 & 377/7

Match drawn


Cameron Bancroft, Ben Charlesworth compile record-breaking 316-run stand

Big hundreds from openers leave Leicestershire playing catch-up at Grace Road

Cameron Bancroft raises his bat on reaching fifty, Northamptonshire vs Gloucestershire, County Championship, Division Two, Wantage Road, May 10, 2024

Cameron Bancroft set Gloucestershire up with a big hundred  •  Getty Images

Gloucestershire 385 for 2 (Bancroft 160, Charlesworth 126) vs Leicestershire
A record breaking opening partnership between Cameron Bancroft and Ben Charlesworth saw Gloucestershire dominate the opening day of their Division Two Vitality county championship match against Leicestershire at the UptonSteel County Ground, Grace Road.
The pair put on 316 after the visitors were put into bat by Foxes skipper Lewis Hill, beating the previous record opening partnership made against Leicestershire in first-class cricket, the 315 put on by Herbert Sutcliffe and Len Hutton for Yorkshire in 1937.
Bancroft's 160 was his second century in as many innings, and his 28th in first-class cricket. Charlesworth's 126, which included ten fours and six sixes, was his maiden three figure score. Both had a moment of fortune, Bancroft when he was dropped at slip off the bowling of Rehan Ahmed when on 84, and Charlesworth when his middle stump was uprooted by a Josh Hull no-ball on 58.
Both sides made changes to their starting elevens from their previous matches. Leicestershire, having drawn their first five championship fixtures - in no small part due to time lost to the weather - brought highly rated left-arm seam prospect Hull into their eleven in place of short-term loanee Ben Green, who had returned to home county Somerset. Gloucestershire, fresh from ending their run of 18 games without a win by beating Northants, gave a debut to Australian all-rounder Beau Webster, one of four changes. Fast bowler Marchant de Lange, whose eight wickets in the match had been key to the success at Wantage Road, was said to be unavailable due to injury, with the others to miss out being Singh Dale, Tom Price and Zafar Gohar.
Humid conditions, and a green tinge to the pitch, persuaded Hill to bowl first after winning the toss. A lunchtime scoreline of 107 for 0 suggested he had been ill-advised, but there had been some movement for the bowlers, both in the air and occasionally off the seam: unfortunately for Hill and Leicestershire there were also too many deliveries off which Bancroft and Charlesworth could and did score, so that although the bat was beaten from time to time, the scoreboard kept moving. Bancroft hit seven boundaries in going to his 50 off 84 balls, his third consecutive half-century. Charlesworth struggled to time the ball, at times to his obvious frustration, but was unbeaten on 29 off 85 deliveries at the interval. Other than a handful of optimistic shouts for leg before and catches behind the wicket, no chances were created.
It was a similar story in the afternoon, though Hull will consider himself unfortunate when his full swinging delivery beat Charlesworth's defence and flattened middle stump, only for his celebration to be cut short by the sight of the umpire's extended arm. Bancroft too might have gone before reaching three figures, edging Ahmed low to first slip where Peter Hanscomb was unable to take the chance low to his left.
Charlesworth took full advantage, going to his hundred with a huge straight straight six, one of six maximums before he holed out to long-off off the part-time off-spin of Louis Kimber. By then the partnership had passed 300, leaving Gloucestershire's previous opening record against Leicestershire, the 201 put on by Kadeer Ali and Craig Spearman on the same ground in 2007, well behind.
Bancroft was to follow, chopping a delivery from Ben MIke on to his stumps, before Ollie Price and Miles Hammond saw Gloucestershire through to the close, nine balls early due to bad light.

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County Championship Division Two