Worcestershire Seamen Prevail Despite Taylor-Made Opposition


Worcestershire’s 406 and 316 for 8 Dec (Libby 117, Waite 62, van Meekeren 5-73) topped Gloucestershire’s 301 and 311 by 110 runs (O Price 115, Pennington 3-39, J Taylor 98, Hammond 64, Pennington 4-63, Finch 4-83).

On the final day of an enthralling LV=County Championship match at the Cheltenham Festival, Worcestershire’s seamers exhibited commendable resolve to secure a dramatic late victory over Gloucestershire.

Adam Finch took four wickets for 83 runs, Dillon Pennington took four wickets for 63 runs, and Joe Leach took two wickets for 57 runs as the visitors bowled out their opponents for 311 to win by 110 runs with 8.5 overs remaining.

Worcestershire had previously declared their second innings at 316 for 8, giving Gloucestershire a target of 421 in 96 overs.

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They appeared to be on their way to a routine victory when they reduced the host team to 190 for seven just before tea, but brothers Jack and Matt Taylor staged a defiant stand of 95 runs in 27 overs.

Pennington’s late surge with the second new ball ended Gloucestershire’s resistance, with the Shrewsbury-born seamer dismissing Jack Taylor for a season-high 98 and Zaman Akhter in three deliveries.

He dismissed Paul van Meekeren for seven to secure the victory, leaving Matt Taylor on 49 not out and stranded at the crease.

Worcestershire achieved back-to-back victories for the first time since 2019 with their fourth triumph of the season, while Gloucestershire earned five points.

Worcestershire has surpassed promotion rivals Glamorgan to move into second place in the rankings, behind runaway champions Durham.

They lead Glamorgan by 14 points and are 21 points ahead of fourth-placed Sussex, which has a game in hand.

Only Yorkshire, who were docked 48 points by the ECB Cricket Discipline Commission this week, are positioned below Gloucestershire in the standings.

After losing three wickets during the morning session and needing to score at a rate of 4.39 runs per over to end their winless streak, Gloucestershire never seriously contemplated the possibility of victory.

Chris Dent, eager to make amends for his first-innings failure, amassed five boundaries and advanced effortlessly to 24 before pushing tentatively at a delivery from Leach and affording Jake Libby an easy catch at third slip with the score at 37.

Joe Phillips and Ollie Price had a magnificent 100-run partnership on the second day, but they could not repeat their first-innings exploits on this occasion, as they both fell to Adam Finch in rapid succession.

Phillips was dismissed for 26 in the 16th over after top-edging a catch to Brett D’Oliveira at point while attempting to play a short-of-a-length delivery to leg.

Ollie Price, whose previous two Festival innings yielded scores of 85 and 115, blemished his record by taking on Finch and directing a top-edged uppercut straight to Leach at deep fine leg.

Gloucestershire were 76 for three and in need of a reassuring partnership when he scored 13.

Hammond and James Bracey attempted to keep Worcestershire’s seamers at bay by accumulating 53 runs in 19 overs before and after lunch.

Although out of control and vulnerable throughout, Bracey fought valiantly to score 19 off 64 deliveries before pushing at a delivery from Leach and being caught by Gareth Roderick’s diving capture behind the wickets.

Tom Price was caught at the wicket without scoring in the next over by the returning Dillon Pennington, further reducing the host team’s score to 130 for five as the game continued to fluctuate.

This season’s most effective red-ball batsman for Gloucestershire, Hammond continued to provide resistance, reaching his eighth 50 from 72 deliveries.

It is perhaps telling that he has not converted a single half-century into a century, and this innings was no exception.

The Cheltenham-born left-hander attempted to draw Finch and played on but was bowled by a low delivery.

He had contributed 64 runs, confronted 106 balls, and hit six fours and a six, but with him went Gloucestershire’s best opportunity to win. Invigorated and in the zone, the aggressive Finch increased his tempo to dispatch Zafar Gohar for five from the College Lawn End in his next over.

With 40 overs remaining, Gloucestershire were 190 for seven and dependent on their last recognized batsman, Jack Taylor, who reached the tea break unbeaten on 40 in partnership with his younger sibling Matt.

The attack proved the best defense for the elder Taylor, who drove Leach down the ground for his ninth four to reach his first Championship fifty of the season in just 54 deliveries.

He was two runs shy of his century when controversy erupted. Taylor blocked a delivery from Pennington, who then struck the batsman while attempting to avoid the stumps.

As tempers escalated, umpire Martin Saggers intervened, awarding five penalty runs to Gloucestershire and issuing a verbal warning to Pennington.

However, Pennington had the last chuckle as Jack Taylor departed for 98 after trailing the next delivery onto his stumps.

Two deliveries later, Akhter edged Pennington first to slip, putting Gloucestershire on the verge of defeat.


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