Somerset win big derby on day three
Somerset crushed Gloucestershire to claim a record LV= Insurance County Championship win by one run and 246 runs in three days at Bristol.
It was Somerset’s biggest margin of victory over their rivals, which had previously been by an innings and 170 at Taunton in 1893, a match in which WG Grace featured for the visitors.
Gloucestershire, without injured skipper Graeme van Buuren, were knocked out for 186 in their first innings to 119 overnight for four, with Jack Leach finishing with five for 49 from 25.4 overs.
There was no respite for a home side, including three new loan signings when they trailed 405 behind under cloudless skies. Leach completed game numbers of eight for 90, while teenager Jacob Bethell hit 61 for a total of 159.
Somerset took 23 points from Gloucestershire and have now won back-to-back victories after losing their opening three league matches.
With van Burren nursing a shoulder injury sustained in the field on day two, Somerset needed just five wickets at the start of the day to wrap up their opponents’ opening innings.
Bethell, on a one-game loan to Gloucestershire from Warwickshire, started with a sweet drive for four against Craig Overton and followed with another boundary in the same over.
Somerset were worried when Overton was sent off with a left knee pinch, but the all-around England man was able to return to the bowl at the end of the innings.
Josh Davey made the breakthrough for Somerset with the total of 144, hitting Ryan Higgins on the back cushion and pinning him lbw for 31, before quickly taking Zafar Gofar to the slip.
Lewis Gregory uprooted Zak Chappell’s center stump and the impressive Bethell fell front leg over back foot against Leach for 37 as Gloucestershire tipped to 152 for eight.
Final pairing Matt Taylor and Brad Wheal offered some resistance, taking the tally to 186 for eight at lunch. Taylor finished 24 steps when Wheal fell lbw on a ball from Leach that seemed to stay low.
Gloucestershire’s second innings had reached 24 in the ninth when George Scott edged Peter Siddle straight to James Hildreth at the second slip.
Marcus Harris fell on the same tally, missing a shot from Overton and catching Tom Lammonby halfway. It was 28 for three when Miles Hammond nicked a ball from Davey to wicketkeeper Steve Davies.
Higgins was caught down 16 tries to force Gregory off the back foot and by the tea Gloucestershire were in disarray at 74 for four.
Bethell had again given a lesson in technique to more experienced colleagues. But all hope of recovery was gone in the playoffs after the interval when James Bracey swept Leach and Tom Abell took an exceptional hold, one hand over his head to the back square leg.
Luck continued to desert injury-plagued Gloucestershire as Bethell slipped when called for a quick single against Leach by Zafar Gohar, who was forced to turn around and failed to beat Abell’s throw to the end of the bowler.
Chappell was knocked down on an inside edge for 20 by Overton, who then took a low hold on Leach’s second slip to take out Taylor.
Bethell’s mature batting in a slump earned him a deserved 84-ball half-century, with 8 fours. But when he swept Leach into the hands of deep-squared Lammonby, Somerset celebrated a crushing success.
At the end of the match, Somerset head coach Jason Kerr said: “Jack Leach’s contribution to the win was immense. Not only did he take wickets, but he kept up the pressure at one end while our excellent seam attack minded its business.
“Matt Renshaw and Tom Lammonby set the tone with their opening stand on day one and it was a really good team performance. We wanted to prove that our big win over Warwickshire in the previous game was no fluke. and we will continue to take things game by game.
“We lost our first three league games. But we were understaffed in Hampshire, like Gloucestershire were in this game, and it’s very difficult in the Premier League when that’s the case.
“The other two matches could have gone either way and the most impressive thing was the unity in our dressing room when the results went against us.”
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