Taylor and Worrall take five apiece to bowl Glos to victory
MATT Taylor and Dan Worrall took five wickets each to bowl Gloucestershire to a 164-run win over Middlesex at Cheltenham to keep them on course for a top two finish in Group Two of the LV= Insurance Championship.
Victory appeared a formality when Middlesex were set a target of 420 in a day and a half but Stevie Eskinazi ensured there would be no second surrender with a marathon 102 from 300 balls.
Daryl Mitchell joined the fight with 73 from 247 deliveries as the visitors went more than 100 overs only losing one wicket.
But when Mitchell fell, Middlesex suffered a second collapse of the match, this time six for 14 in nine overs, to be bowled out for 255.
Gloucestershire moved second i n Group Two, five points points behind Somerset and six clear of Hampshire who come to the College Ground on Sunday.
Gloucestershire no doubt would have told themselves to remain patient but surely they would not have envisaged just how hard victory would have to be earned.
Despite the giant target, Middlesex, in theory, had enough time to win they game but they settled upon merely trying to avoid a seventh defeat of the season. The scoring rate inched along at under twoan-over but for the first half of the final day, the spoiling tactics were working.
Eskinazi made just the third cen
tury by a Middlesex batsman this season, the seventh of his first-class career and first in the Championship since 2017.
It came in a mighty 273 balls with a rare attacking stroke as his drove Dom Goodman through extracover for his tenth boundary.
But having thrown everything they had at him, Gloucestershire finally struck. A leg gully was positioned and Eskinazi flicked a full ball from Worrall to Ollie Price. The celebrations rivalled those at Wembley on Wednesday night such was the hosts’ relief.
A full in-swinger from Taylor then had Mitchell lbw and Gloucestershire
could see the victory line. Taylor struck next ball as Martin Andersson edged and James Bracey held a good low catch. Nathan Sowter survived the hattrick but soon gloved a lifter to second slip.
The sixth five-wicket haul of his career was completed when a superb delivery that moved away was edged behind by Blake Cullen.
Worrall ended it. Ethan Bamber turned into short leg’s hands before Robbie White, the final resistance with 32, scooped a ball to deep square. Cue further pandemonium.