LVCC: Surrey 186 & 180/3dec. beat Gloucestershire 106-5dec. & 250 by 10 runs (PTS: Surrey 19, Glos 3)
What a tremendous end to the season. The rain earlier in this match produced the most exciting end to a county championship match for a long time. It was a pity Gloucestershire contrived to lose from an excellent position but the season finished with a fine afternoon of cricket in brilliant sunshine.
The intense drama around the country on the final day, and the irrelevance of this match, distracted from what in the end was a thrilling contest. Set 261 to win, Gloucestershire were actually going very well and should have won the game. Unfortunately Gloucestershire slipped into their old ways and ended up with neighbours Somerset on the they-played-their-part-in-the-drama side of the fence.
Gloucestershire were cruising with Hamish Marshall and Chris Dent at the crease. Marshall continuing the form he has built up over these final few matches - even in losing causes - and Dent continuing to showcase his talent. It was another wasted opportunity from Dent which irked most. The first time he attempted to play the sweep was his downfall and he was out in the 90s for the third time this season.
And no-one else could regain control of the chase. Gloucestershire lost six for 34 as Jade Dernbach cleaned up the final two wickets in two balls. Jon Lewis ended his miserable second half of the season with the bat by recording a golden duck and Chris Taylor's efforts were eventually in vain.
The afternoon was Gloucestershire in a nutshell. Glimpses of excellent cricket; a move into a solid position; then collapse and defeat. Momentum plays such a big part in their cricket - when the waters are calm they can sail along but when it begins to get choppier they can never run up the jib and stabilise the situation.
The problem is clearly a mental thing because ability is often shown, just never consistently produced. The whole batting line up basically dines out on the mantra "form is temporary, class is permanent". Chalk and Cheese.
Perhaps Jeremy Snape needs to be brought back in, not for his moonballs but for a psychology session and a half.