Pro­mo­tion sealed af­ter last-day washout

Gloucestershire Echo - - SPORTING INDEX -

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GLOUCES­TER­SHIRE and Northamp­ton­shire both clinched pro­mo­tion to Di­vi­sion One of the Spec­savers County Cham­pi­onship with­out even tak­ing to the field on the fi­nal day of the match at Bris­tol.

Their el­e­va­tion was con­firmed when news broke that play had been aban­doned for the day in the match be­tween Durham and fourth-placed Glam­or­gan at Ch­ester-lestreet, deny­ing the Welsh county the vic­tory they needed if they were to re­tain any hope of over­haul­ing ei­ther of their ri­vals.

Um­pires Mike Burns and David Millns then took the de­ci­sion to aban­don play for the day at the Bris­tol County Ground af­ter heavy overnight rain again left the out­field un­der wa­ter.

Northants claimed seven points from a drawn match to fin­ish sec­ond be­hind Lan­cashire, one place ahead of Glouces­ter­shire, who took six points. And play­ers from both sides then cel­e­brated to­gether in the dress­ing rooms.

Hav­ing fi­nally lead Glouces­ter­shire to Di­vi­sion One af­ter five years in charge, head coach Richard Daw­son ad­mit­ted: “This has been my aim all along, since I first ar­rived here from York­shire.

“I re­mem­ber play­ing just half the sea­son when York­shire won the Cham­pi­onship in 2001 and I re­mem­ber how dif­fi­cult that was.

“To be able to put it to­gether on a con­sis­tent ba­sis over the course of an en­tire sea­son is some­thing else, and that’s the mes­sage I’ve had to try and get across to the play­ers here. “They were play­ing well for a ses­sion or two, then hav­ing a poor ses­sion and won­der­ing why they were los­ing games. You need to be at it all of the time, you can­not af­ford to drop off for even a sin­gle ses­sion if you want to win games. “They now know just how much work needs to go into win­ning a four-day game. The big dif­fer­ence this year, is that they have been able to main­tain the lev­els re­quired for much longer.”

He added: “No­body out­side of Glouces­ter­shire gave us a chance of do­ing this at the start of the sea­son. It’s a spe­cial kind of achieve­ment and I make no apol­ogy for fin­ish­ing third and go­ing up.

“You have to play the hand that is given you and it’s the top three that go up this sea­son. We’ll take it. “I’ve not al­lowed my­self to think too much about Di­vi­sion One, in case it brought us bad luck. But I’m now look­ing for­ward to the chal­lenge and I know the play­ers are ex­cited about that.

“We’ve played the best sides in one-day cricket and matched them and that will now be our aim in four-day cricket. It’s about hav­ing the abil­ity to play good cricket day in and day out.”

Glouces­ter­shire won four of their last six games to ad­vance from a mid-ta­ble po­si­tion at the start of July, while Northants surged into sec­ond place cour­tesy of four straight wins in Au­gust and Septem­ber.

Glouces­ter­shire all-rounder Ben Charleswor­th was left high and dry on 77 not out as the game was aban­doned with the home side on 220-7 in their first in­nings.

De­spite need­ing just one more run to es­tab­lish a new ca­reer-best score, he was philo­soph­i­cal, say­ing: “It’s about the team, not me. We’re de­lighted to have got the job done.”

Per­sis­tent rain meant only 73 overs were pos­si­ble in a match which saw two com­plete days washed out.

Put into bat in damp con­di­tions on the open­ing day, Glouces­ter­shire col­lapsed to 80-6, Ben San­der­son tak­ing two wick­ets to ad­vance his tally for the sea­son to 60.

Any nerves were dis­pelled when Charleswor­th and Graeme van Bu­uren, pictured, (93) joined forces in a sev­en­th­wicket stand of 151 on the third day to carry Glouces­ter­shire to the brink.

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