Sixth-placed Gloucestershire approach their second Championship match of the Cheltenham festival against bottom club Leicestershire in better heart than they did the opening game with Northamptonshire. Against the Wantage Road side they were in a poor position at one stage in the match, but turned it around to produce a stunning win in two days by nine wickets.
The turning point in the Northamptonshire game was a marvellous 156 not out by off- spinning all-rounder Jack Taylor which put Gloucestershire in a good position when the visitors batted second time around. Then followed a match-winning bowling effort by young quickie Crag Miles who took 5/28 to skittle Northamptonshire for 164.
Gloucestershire will be hoping that this victory will act as a stimulus for the remaining six Championship games, coming after a rather barren period when the county had not won since another outstanding success, this time against the leaders Lancashire at Emirates Old Trafford in May. They will see the visit of Leicestershire as a chance to record a second Championship win at Cheltenham, a feat they have not achieved since the 1998 festival in the days of Courtney Walsh and Jack Russell.
As for Leicestershire, they have lost their last four Championship matches since their headline-grabbing win against Essex at Chelmsford early in June, their first since September 2012. Last week they recorded an eight wicket defeat to Kent at Grace Road, being bowled out for 159 and 123 in less than 100 overs on a pitch which attracted criticism from visiting captain Sam Northeast. Although they dismissed Kent for 210 in their first innings, Leicestershire simply put too few runs on the board to ever get in a winning position.
The defeats following the Chelmsford success will be of great disappointment to the Leicestershire coach – former Foxes player Aussie Andrew McDonald – in his first season in the job. Mc Donald has just signed a contract extension to keep him in the East Midlands until the end of 2017.
Leicestershire opener Angus Robson is having another good season with the bat having scored 700 runs at over 35 including one century and five 50s. This follows his achievement as the only Foxes player to score a thousand runs in 2014. The Australian-born brother of Middlesex and England opener Sam Robson only made his Championship debut in 2013, against Gloucestershire at Bristol, but has quickly established himself as a dependable performer in a side often short of runs.
Gloucestershire seamer Liam Norwell is the county’s leading wicket-taker this summer so far with 46 victims at 23 apiece. He is in great form, capturing another six-wicket haul in the Northamptonshire first innings at the festival. The Cornishman is fast developing into a consistent and highly effective bowler. Norwell is a traditional English seamer in the Matthew Hoggard mould; just the sort of bowler to prosper in English conditions where the ball seams and wobbles in the air at no great pace. He is forming a dangerous and successful partnership with Craig Miles which bodes well for the county in the immediate future.
Gloucestershire have a T20 match on the afternoon before the Leicestershire clash so are unlikely to announce their side until the morning of the match. However, it is likely to be similar to the side which beat Northamptonshire. However, there is doubt about Hamish Marshall who aggravated a calf injury in the last T20 game on Sunday against Kent.
Gloucestershire (possible): Chris Dent, Will Tavare, Michael Klinger, Gareth Roderick (wk), Ian Cockbain (c), Geraint Jones, Benny Howell, Jack Taylor, Liam Norwell, Craig Miles, James Fuller.
Leicestershire have not announced their team for Cheltenham but they will still be without the O’Brien brothers who are involved in Ireland’s T20 Word Cup campaign. Captain Mark Cosgrove missed the Kent game as he was on paternity leave.
Leicestershire (possible): Angus Robson, Matthew Boyce, Ned Eckersley (c), Greg Smith, Andrea Agathangelou, Aadil Ali, Lewis Hill (wk), Ben Raine, Clint McKay, Ollie Frecking ham, Charlie Shreck.
The weather forecast for Cheltenham is mainly dry for the whole of the match, with sunny intervals and average temperatures for mid-July.
Date: 15-18th July
Time: 11.00 am
Umpires: Jeremy Lloyds and Martin Saggers
Odds: Gloucestershire 8/15, Leicestershire 11/8