Monday, May 02, 2011

Glos survive Unicorns scare

CB40: Gloucestershire 195-6 beat Unicorns 171-9 by 24 runs (PTS: Glos 2, Unicorns 0)

The Unicorns are an interesting little project. Thrown together to satisfy the need for another team in the Clydesdale Bank 40 League, they have produced some excellent matches and an excellent shop window. Last year they turned over Glamorgan and Worcestershire and forced Lancashire into a last-ball scramble. The 2011 crop took Somerset to the penultimate over last week so they were never going to be a walkover.

And with only 195 on the board Gloucestershire were very vulnerable. A slow Bristol pitch is often blamed for mediocre first innings scores but you can never tell until both teams have batted. When the Unicorns batted, they never gave themselves a chance - three single figure scores in the top four was where the Unicorns lost the game.

The protagonist of those low scores was David Payne, who started the season poorly but has settled in, more familiar with the one-day arena in which he featured several times last season - including that incredible spell at Essex - his damage to the top order sent Gloucestershire on their way.

They needed early wickets because Chris Taylor's century was over half Gloucestershire's total - very unusual to see a hundred scored and the total less then 200. His second one-day hundred was his second in three games: his first came in the final one-day match of last season in a brilliant innings at Northamptonshire where he and James Franklin put on a record double-century partnership.

The innings will hopefully inspire confidence for a big contest against Middlesex this week. Key to Gloucestershire's success will be Kane Williamson, who played a modest knock on debut. He worryingly got out when in - the trademark of many a Gloucestershire batsmen - but showed ability that will hopefully transfer into first-class success.

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