Somerset won the second West Country derby in eight days by seven runs in a thrilling low scoring match at Taunton.
Half-centuries for Rilee Rossouw and Lewis Gregory helped Somerset eke out 184-6 after their slowest start to a T20 in years.
On a day when England score 498 in 50 overs and Birmingham Bears’ 261-2 was nearly chased down by Notts Outlaws at Trent Bridge it was a surprisingly low scoring affair at Taunton. Gloucestershire finishing 177-8.
“Not quite the surface we usually play on” was man of the match Lewis Gregory’s post-match verdict.
Earlier on Gloucestershire won the toss and understandably opted to bowl.
Lewis Goldsworthy and Jack Brooks inevitably came back in for the concussed Craig Overton and Josh Davey.
Mo Amir and Matt Taylor, two left-armers, replaced Josh Shaw and David Payne (in the Netherlands with England).
Will Smeed played and missed at the first two balls of the match from Amir, then edged to first slip – a proper cricket dismissal rarely seen in T20 cricket!
Rilee Rossouw also edged Amir second ball, but short of slip, a tremendous first over from the Pakistani international – a wicket maiden with plenty of plays and misses.
Ten scoreless balls saw Tom Banton hit and run off the 11th– straight to mid of f- would have been out had the throw hit. In truth the first three overs did not see a run that could not have been a run out. The most sedate start I can remember in T20s at Taunton.
Banton over long on for four, nearly six off Zak Chappell saw the first boundary as late as the fourth over, the next and 21st ball also going for four.
Banton eventually did get going, to 23 with a spree of boundaries in the fourth and fifth overs, but then skied one up to mid-off, off the ridiculously talented off-spin bowler Glenn Phillips (who also bats and keeps). 37-2 after 5.2, Abell in early again -just like most Somerset Championship games.
Once Abell and Lammonby fell for single figures, the middle-overs saw a lot of pressure on Rossouw who got to 54 off 35 before chipping Benny Howell to cover.
Even in the 15th over Matt Taylor was getting enough movement to trouble Ben Green, to hit him on the pads and have Gregory lucky for a jibbed catch at leg gully to survive another economical Glos over, 110-5.
Green (12) fell to a stunning catch from Miles Hammond in the deep that had both sets of fans applauding in unison.
Lewis Gregory continued his form from his Championship ton on Wednesday with an innings saving 60* off 36 balls. Van der Merwe, surprisingly still batting below Ben Green, with 15 off six massively helping the late charge. 184-6 still below par but a serious comeback from the ropey start.
The Glos reply got off to another Hammond six-run start. Pete Siddle taking the first over not Tom Lammonby this time. He smote 19 off eight but Jack Brooks had returned from his one of two matches at Sussex to have him caught by Banton in the fourth over.
Amazingly Ian Cockbain did not hit a single boundary in his 14 off 19 balls, stalling a bit of momentum as Bracey also struggled a little, though reaching 30 off 26 before the first of three Rilee Rossouw catches.
It was the third catch from Rossouw that will be remembered for years though, leaping one handed above his head just as Daniel Bell-Drummond did for Kent here a few years ago. Two genuinely world-class catches tonight.
Ryan Higgins restored some impetus with 43 off 29 balls as the game continued to see-saw, still unclear who might win this one.
Benny Howell struck Brooks for a couple of mighty blows en-route to 42 off 18 balls -the standout knock of the second innings. But when Lammonby held on well at deep extra cover off Siddle, Chappell coming in at eight showed Glos’ tail which was soon to be exploited. He would bat 11 in any Somerset side, Glos had three men below him tonight.
Six off the last ball was still not enough as Brooks closed out the final over.
Second played fourth and that is how it remains, though Somerset have a game in hand over their northern visitors.
Ben Green’s chosen charity saw fundraising for Movember UK tonight; £50 per six, £150 for “out of the ground”… £1000 for hitting the thatcher’s hot air balloon blowing up was the shout from the press box…(the latter point isn’t officially true…) Not quite as many boundaries as usual but still plenty of money raised for a great charity.