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County Championship: Somerset beat Gloucestershire by an innings and 246 runs

Jack Leach
Jack Leach took his 23rd five-wicket haul in first-class cricket
LV= County Championship Division One, Seat Unique Stadium, Bristol (day three)
Somerset 591-7 dec: Abell 142, Renshaw 94, Gregory 89, Lammonby 76, Hildreth 53
Gloucestershire 186: Leach 5-49 & 159: Bethell 61; Leach 3-41
Somerset (23 pts) beat Gloucestershire (1 pt) by an innings & 246 runs
Match scorecard

Somerset steamrollered Gloucestershire’s patched-up team to complete a record-breaking County Championship victory by an innings and 246 runs inside three days at Bristol.

It was Somerset’s biggest ever margin of victory over their arch-rivals, which was previously by an innings and 170 at Taunton back in 1893 – a match in which WG Grace featured for the visitors.

Gloucestershire, whose injury problems increased with the loss of skipper Graeme van Buuren, were bowled out for 186 in their first innings from an overnight 119-4, Jack Leach finishing with 5-49 from 25.4 overs.

There was no respite for a home side including three new loan signings when they followed on 405 behind beneath cloudless skies as they were bowled out for 159.

Leach claimed three more scalps to complete match figures of 8-90 while teenager Jacob Bethell impressed for Gloucestershire with a battling 61 – more than treble the next-best score from a home batter.

Somerset took 23 points to Gloucestershire’s one and have now reeled off successive victories after losing their first three Championship fixtures.

With Van Burren nursing a shoulder injury sustained in the field on day two, Somerset needed only five wickets at the start of the day to wrap up their opponents’ first innings.

Bethell, on a one-match loan to Gloucestershire from Warwickshire, began with a sweet on-drive for four off Craig Overton and followed up with another boundary in the same over.

There was concern for Somerset when Overton was forced off by a twinge in his left knee, but the England all-rounder was able to return to bowl at the end of the innings.

Josh Davey made the breakthrough for Somerset with the total on 144, rapping Ryan Higgins on the back pad and pinning him lbw for 31, before quickly having Zafar Gofar taken at slip.

Lewis Gregory uprooted Zak Chappell’s middle stump and the impressive Bethell fell leg-before on the back foot to Leach for 37 as Gloucestershire lurched to 152-8.

Last pair Matt Taylor and Brad Wheal offered some resistance, taking the total to 186-8 at lunch. Taylor finished 24 not out when Wheal fell lbw to a ball from Leach that appeared to keep low.

Gloucestershire’s second innings had reached 24 in the ninth over when George Scott edged Peter Siddle straight to James Hildreth at second slip.

Marcus Harris fell on the same total, miscuing a pull shot off Overton and skying a catch to Tom Lammonby at mid-on and it was 28-3 when Miles Hammond nicked a ball from Davey through to wicketkeeper Steve Davies.

Higgins was caught behind for 16 trying to force Gregory off the back foot and by tea Gloucestershire were in disarray at 74-4.

Bethell had again given a lesson in technique to more experienced colleagues, but any hopes of a recovery disappeared in the over after the interval when James Bracey swept Leach and Tom Abell took an outstanding catch, one-handed above his head at backward square leg.

Luck continued to desert injury-plagued Gloucestershire as Bethell slipped when called for a quick single off Leach by Gohar, who was forced to turn back and failed to beat Abell’s throw to the bowler’s end.

Chappell was bowled off an inside edge for 20 by Overton, who then took a low catch at second slip off Leach to remove Taylor.

Bethell’s mature batting in a crisis brought him a deserved half-century off 84 balls, with eight fours, but when he swept Leach into the hands of Lammonby at deep square, Somerset celebrated an overwhelming success.

Report supplied by the ECB Reporters’ Network.

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