South Group leaders Somerset all but sealed their place in the knockout stage of the Royal London One-Day Cup with an impressive 81-run win over neighbours Gloucestershire at the Brightside Ground, Bristol.
It was their fifth win of the campaign and one which they achieved with some ease against against their hosts, whose interest in the competition they won in 2015 is only just alive.
Somerset’s victory was built on two excellent innings, one of 90 from skipper and old-stager Jim Allenby and the other from one of the Cidermen’s lesser lights in 25-year-old Adam Hose, who reached 101 from the final ball of the Somerset effort.
It was Somerset’s fifth century of this season’s campaign, all scored by different batters, and Hose’s first senior century in only his second List A appearance. If he felt the pressure of replacing the absent Dean Elgar, who has scored so prolifically in this competition this season, he didn’t show it.
On a gloomy morning Somerset won the toss and batted. They made their attacking intentions clear from the outset but in the fourth over Johann Myburgh chopped on to Matt Taylor for 19.
The same bowler then bowled Peter Trego for 13 with an excellent inswinger. James Hildreth never settled and clipped Benny Howell to short mid wicket for 8 with the total on 65.
After a short rain break, Allenby and Adam Hose pushed the score along, Tom Smith dropping Hose on 9, off his own bowling from his first ball.
Allenby and Hose continued until the second rain break taken with Somerset on 147/3 after 30 overs, Allenby on 59 and Hose 38.
After the break the pair turned their attention to the reduced overs allocation of 46 and upped the pace. When Allenby
swung at Matt Taylor, Gloucestershire’s best bowler with 3/48 from nine overs, and was caught behind ten short of his century Somerset had moved to 188 in the 36th over.
The accelerator pedal was now being pushed firmly to the floor as Roelof van der Merwe was caught at deep mid wicket in the 40th over, leaving Somerset 223/5.
As Hose approached his century Jamie Overton started long- handling to great effect cracking a couple of muscular sixes. His departure, lbw to Chris Liddle, came as a relief to George Hankins in particular after he dropped the fast bowler twice on the long-on
Hose reached his well- deserved 93 ball 100 in the final over from Tom Smith. But he left it late. On 93 with two balls left he pulled the slow left armer’s penultimate delivery for a maximum over the mid-wicket boundary and got home off the last ball of the innings.
Gloucestershire’s pursuit of a revised target of 297 from 46 overs got off to the worst possible start when Phil Mustard was caught off a leading edge to Craig Overton’s first ball.
Dent soon followed when the same bowler bowled him round his legs. As the Duckworth- Lewis target outstripped the Gloucestershire total by menacing proportions Cockbain fell to van der Merwe at 62/3 in the 15th over.
But the telling blow for the home side came in the next over when skipper Michael Klinger was caught behind from Jamie Overton for 26. Jack Taylor and Hankins rallied the innings, the former reaching a typically-belligerent 50.
The pair had added 103 when Taylor, having smashed Jamie Overton over the long-on rope into the Ashley Down End apartments, was caught on the same boundary next ball for 68.
Hankins followed in the next over, bowled by van der Merwe for 32. There was fight from Benny Howell (23) but by then the game was won and lost and the Gloucestershire tail-enders put up little resistance.
The wickets were shared between the Overton twins, and the two spinners – Waller and van der Merwe, backed up by some highly-competent ground fielding and catching in what was an impressive team performance.