Gloucestershire 205 for 5 (Taylor 77*, Harris 59) beat Somerset 199 (Goldsworthy 66, Taylor 4-31) by five wickets
Jack Taylor made match-winning contributions with bat and ball as Gloucestershire carved out a hard-earned five-wicket win over arch rivals Somerset in a low-scoring Royal London One-Day encounter at Bristol’s Seat Unique Stadium.
Gloucestershire’s captain returned figures of 4 for 31 with his legbreaks and then made an unbeaten 77 as the home side chased down a victory target of 200 with 7.1 overs to spare in front of a modest but enthusiastic derby crowd.
Somerset won the toss, posted 57 without loss in 10 overs and then inexplicably slumped to 112 for 7, one batter after another giving their wicket away cheaply. Lewis Goldsworthy mustered a defiant 66, hewn from 103 balls with two fours, but the visitors were bowled out for 199 in 47.4 overs, with slow left-armer Tom Smith taking 2 for 29 in support of Taylor.
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Australian Test batter Marcus Harris proved the mainstay of Gloucestershire’s reply, raising 59 from 90 balls on a typically slow Bristol pitch, before Taylor and Zafar Gohar finished the job off. Kasey Aldridge was the pick of the Somerset bowlers, claiming 2 for 43.
Following back-to-back defeats at the hands of Warwickshire and Sussex, Gloucestershire will be relieved to have finally broken their duck, even though the contest will scarcely live long in the memory of those who witnessed it. As for Somerset, they will go into Wednesday’s home game against Durham seeking a first win in three attempts after another disappointing batting display.
There was no sign of the trouble that lay ahead as Matt Renshaw and Steve Davies staged a productive opening stand of 57 in 10.2 overs, justifying the decision to bat first. Aggressive from the outset, Renshaw cut and pulled to good effect in making 38 from 45 balls, including five fours and a six, smashed high over long-on at the expense of Zafar. But the Australian flirted with danger outside off stump and twice survived confident caught behind appeals before eventually edging Jared Warner to James Bracey.
The introduction of spin from both ends yielded instant dividends thereafter, experienced campaigners Davies and James Hildreth both falling to poor shots in successive overs as the visitors lurched from 72 for 1 to 75 for 3 in the space of seven deliveries. Taylor and Smith both struck with their first balls, the former inducing Davies to hit a full toss to Oli Price at cover for 18 and the latter bowling Hildreth for 1, the batter guilty of an airy shot outside off stump.
Somerset contributed further to their own downfall, new batter George Bartlett being comprehensively run out by Chris Dent for seven after being sent back by Goldsworthy in pursuit of a notional single. Having made such a promising start, the cider county had lost four wickets for the addition of 34 runs in 10 overs, in the process offering Gloucestershire a way back into the contest.
Academy product James Rew then attempted to sweep Taylor and was caught by Bracey down the leg side, while Ben Green played an ill-advised forcing shot and was held by the diving Price at mid-on as Somerset subsided 111 for 6 in the 27th over.
Worse followed when Aldridge missed a straight ball on off stump and was bowled by Pakistani slow left-armer Zafar, at which point Goldsworthy represented Somerset’s last realistic hope of posting a competitive score. In danger of running out of partners and forced by the parlous situation in which he found himself to be circumspect, the 21-year-old Cornishman played responsibly to chisel 50 from 81 balls.
He found a willing ally in Siddle, the eighth wicket pair adding 67 in 16 overs to at least partially rebuild the innings. The sole contributor of boundaries during his sojourn in the middle, Siddle struck a straight six and a brace of fours before playing across the line and being bowled by Taylor for 29.
Taylor completed his stint by bowling Goldsworthy in the 46th over and Paul van Meekeren accounted for Jack Brooks as Somerset were dismissed with 14 balls unused.
Somerset had no option but to press hard for early wickets and new ball bowlers Aldridge and Brooks obliged, sweeping aside openers Chris Dent (3) and Ben Wells (15) respectively inside six overs. Siddle produced late swing to bowl Bracey for 15 and, when Price suffered a rush of blood to the head and hoisted Goldsworthy’s slow left-arm straight to deep mid-wicket, Gloucestershire were 69 for 4 and experiencing a degree of discomfiture.
A calming influence in the middle, overseas star Harris offered reassurance, staging a restorative stand of 75 in 18 overs for the fifth wicket with skipper Taylor, who initially suppressed his naturally attacking instincts to play the supporting role that was the order of the day. Harris registered 50 from 82 deliveries, only to then spoon a slower ball from Aldridge to backward point with Gloucestershire in need of 56 more runs from 15.3 overs and the result still in doubt.
Dropped on 10 by Renshaw at slip off the bowling of Green, Zafar made good his escape to score 18 not out, while Taylor went to an 83-ball 50 with a huge six over long-on off the same bowler to calm any lingering nerves.