Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sweet relief as Glos win at Cheltenham

LVCC: Gloucestershire 515 beat Kent 205 & 168 by an innings and 142 runs (PTS: Glos 24, Kent 3)

When umpire Martin Bodenham raised his finger to send Robbie Joseph back, Cheltenham College erupted like never before. There was an outpouring of such delight and relief and a celebration of a thumping win - 55 years on from Gloucestershire's last success over Kent at Cheltenham, also by an innings.

David Payne wheeled away and his team mates formed a jumping, dancing huddle. Alex Gidman stood alone at first slip, both arms raised. A 10-year demon had been exorcised.

Only Chris Taylor from the current team had played in the previous win back in 2001 - he made a century in that match against Sussex and that same year he made 196 against Nottinghamshire.

And disastrously, he made 196 again. The first ball of the day was dispatched to the cover boundary; the second edged behind. There was a collective pang of anguish around the ground as Taylor hung his head and walked off slower than any batsmen. It was such a shame and made you think that his career was never destined to include a double hundred - hopefully he'll get one more chance.

But that disappointment was replaced an hour later as Gloucestershire got among the wickets and Kent rolled over so weakly - it was awful cricket from the visitors. Only one man - David Balcombe, on loan from Hampshire - showed the necessary heart.

Gloucestershire were rampant. The Churchdown Club struck up a few drolling notes of "Glaaawwwssssttterrrrrr", previously only reserved for late on Sunday afternoons following a one-day win. The ovation was tremendous. Players milled around with the spectators and wandered off towards the Montpellier wine bar, beers in hand. It was a jolly good afternoon at Cheltenham.

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