Despite Taylor-made opposition, Worcestershire seamers struggle to triumph.

Despite Taylor-made opposition, Worcestershire seamers struggle to triumph.

Brothers Jack and Matt battle in an eighth-wicket stand, but Gloucestershire lose in the last hour.

Despite Taylor-made opposition, Worcestershire seamers struggle to triumph.
Dillon Pennington spearheaded Worcestershire’s attack.

Worcestershire declared their second innings on 316 for 8,

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

On the last day of a thrilling LV=County Championship match at the Cheltenham Festival, Worcestershire’s seamers displayed tremendous tenacity to earn a stunning late victory over Gloucestershire.

With just 8.5 overs remaining, Adam Finch claimed 4 for 83, Dillon Pennington 4 for 63, and Joe Leach 2 for 57 as the visitors bowled out their hosts for 311 to win by 110 runs.

Worcestershire declared their second innings on 316 for 8, leaving Gloucestershire with a theoretical 421 to win in 96 overs. They appeared to be on track for an easy win when they reduced the hosts to 190 for 7 soon before tea, only for brothers Jack and Matt Taylor to stage a courageous stand of 95 in 27 overs.

It took a late burst from Pennington with the second new ball to break Gloucestershire’s resistance, with the Shrewsbury-born seamer dismissing Jack Taylor for a season-best 98 and Zaman Akhter in three balls. He then bowled Paul van Meekeren for seven runs to secure the victory, leaving Matt Taylor on 49 not out.

Worcestershire won back-to-back games for the first time since 2019 with their fourth win of the season, earning 23 points while Gloucestershire took up five. Worcestershire have risen above promotion rivals Glamorgan to second place in the table, 14 points behind runaway leaders Durham, and are 21 points ahead of fourth-placed Sussex, who have a game in hand.

Gloucestershire, for their part, are still looking for their first win of the season after 11 games, with only Yorkshire, who were fined 48 points by an ECB Cricket Discipline Commission panel earlier this week, sitting behind them in the league.

Gloucestershire never truly considered winning after losing three wickets in the morning session, despite the fact that they needed to score at 4.39 runs per over to break their long winless streak.

Chris Dent, eager to make amends for his first-inning failure, played fluently, accumulating five boundaries and moving comfortably to 24, only to push cautiously at a ball from Leach, handing Jake Libby a simple catch at third slip with the score on 37.

On day two, Joe Phillips and Ollie Price put on a stunning 100-run stand, but they were unable to recreate their first-inning heroics, falling in short succession to Adam Finch. Phillips top-edged a catch to Brett D’Oliveira at point in the 16th over while attempting to move a ball just short of a length to leg.

Ollie Price blotted his copybook after scoring 85 and 115 in his previous two Festival innings, taking on Finch and steering a top-edged hook straight to Leach at deep, fine leg. He’d only made 13, and Gloucestershire were 76 for 3 and in desperate need of a reliable partnership.

In a tenacious alliance of 53 in 19 overs each side of the lunch interval, Hammond and James Bracey did their best to keep Worcestershire’s seamers at bay. Despite seeming out of touch and vulnerable throughout, Bracey fought valiantly, clawing 19 from 64 balls before pushing at a delivery from Leach and falling to a stunning diving catch behind the stumps by Gareth Roderick.

Wickets have dropped in bunches throughout this volatile encounter, and in the following over, the returning Dillon Pennington had Tom Price caught at the wicket without scoring, reducing the home side to 130 for 5.

Hammond, Gloucestershire’s most efficient red-ball batsman this season, continued to provide resistance, reaching his ninth 50 of the summer from 72 deliveries. It’s perhaps telling that he has yet to convert a single one of those half-centuries into a century, and this inning was no exception, with the Cheltenham-born left-hander attempting to pull Finch and playing on but being undone by a low ball.

He had contributed 64 runs, faced 106 balls, and hit six fours and a six, and with him went Gloucestershire’s best chance of rescuing the game. Finch, fired up and in the zone, generated more pace in his following over from the College Lawn End, bowling Zafar Gohar for five.

Gloucestershire were 190 for 7 with 40 overs to play, relying on their final recognized batsman, Jack Taylor, who at least reached the tea interval undefeated on 40 in partnership with younger brother Matt.

The older Taylor’s finest method of defense was attack, as he smashed Leach down the ground for his ninth four, raising his first Championship 50 of the season from only 54 balls.

When the dispute erupted, he was only two runs shy of his century. Taylor blocked a Pennington ball, and Pennington attempted to shy at the stumps, only to hit the batsman. As tempers erupted, umpire Martin Saggers stepped in, awarding Gloucestershire five penalty runs and giving Pennington a verbal warning.

Pennington, on the other hand, had the last laugh, with Jack Taylor pulling the next delivery onto his stumps and departing for 98. Two balls later, Akhter was out, edging Pennington low to first slip, leaving Gloucestershire on the verge of defeat.


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