Rain forces Under-14s to settle for second
GLOUCESTERSHIRE’S Under 14 boys had to settle for the runners-up spot at the Taunton Festival after rain washed out the final day of the competition.
The team finished as runners-up to Buckinghamshire with two wins and a winning draw against the champions.
Gloucestershire began the festival with a commanding 62 run victory over Shropshire as they posted 283-8 from their 50 overs before bowling their opponents out for 221.
The boys got their tournament off to a flying start thanks to a strong opening partnership between Tommy Boorman (Dumbleton) and Sam Brooks (Bristol YMCA).
The loss of Boorman for 34 did little to check the flow of runs as skipper Ben French (45) (Frocester) looked in confident mood from the off.
Brooks looked set for triple figures before falling for 72.
A middle order collapse threatened to derail the innings but Gloucestershire got back on track thanks to Charlie Brook (46) (Cirencester) and Toby Rice (28) (Lodway) to post an impressive 283.
In reply, two early wickets for pace bowler Ethan Corbett (Dumbleton) were complimented by an excellent spell of 3-27 from Winterbourne spinner Jack Studley.
Shropshire nearly took the game away from Gloucestershire thanks to some middle order counter-attacking – including 82 from Tom Griffin.
Left arm seamer Ahmed Tabraiz (Pak Bristolians), returned to wrestle back control of the game.
He took 2-29 including Griffin and Corbett (4-39) also took two wickets in his second spell.
On day two Gloucestershire cruised to a 145 run victory over Oxfordshire.
Gloucestershire began positively through Boorman (50) and Brooks (29) but another middle order collapse put them in trouble before an innings of determination and class from Ahmed Syed (79) (Thornbury).
He received good support from Rice (18*) as Gloucestershire posted 261-9.
Opening bowlers Brook (2-20) and Tabraiz (2-19) took early wickets, followed up by a superb spell of 3-17 by Studley as Oxon were bowled out for 116.
Day three brought a hard fought encounter against Devon and Gloucestershire were indebted to a masterful 96 not out from Ollie Mcconkey (Reading) as he almost single-handedly helped post a competitive total of 187.
Syed got Gloucestershire off to the perfect start with an early breakthrough but Devon fought back with a second wicket partnership of 80.
Studley turned the game on its head with an inspired spell of 3-12 and alongside fellow offspinner Taylor Ireland (Frocester), Gloucestershire put pressure on Devon who slipped from 119-2 to 144-6 with a couple of run outs.
But because Gloucestershire had been bowled out in the 48th over Devon had 52 overs to reach their target – getting over the line on the final ball to win by two wickets.
Gloucestershire picked themselves up with an excellent performance against Buckinghamshire.
They lost an early wicket but recovered through Boorman (32) and Syed.
When Boorman and Mcconkey departed, the middle order problems returned.
However Syed found a partner in Brook as he went on to score a stylish 97 while Brook added a county best 66* as Gloucestershire posted 279.
Gloucestershire kept their opponents behind the run rate. and as Bucks tried to accelerate Gloucestershire began to make breakthroughs.
But, recognizing that a losing draw would give them top spot in the table, Bucks did not chase the win.
Despite success for Corbett (3-32) and Tabraiz (2-41) Gloucestershire had to settle for a winning draw as Bucks finished on 231-7.
Charlie Brook played some important innings at the Taunton Festival