Since losing their first game of the season, Durham have won three and drawn one, snatching a one wicket victory over Yorkshire in the last round. They will start this match as favourites against a Gloucestershire side who, like their fellow relegated team Yorkshire, have found Division Two cricket a little tougher than they might have expected. They are winless, with four draws and have had one game washed out. Of concern to coach Dale Benkenstein is the fact the three batting bonus points they acquired in the last game against Derbyshire were the first of the season. Meanwhile the Durham batters have been scoring freely, backed up by a strong seam attack, led by Matty Potts and Ben Raine.
Marcus Harris is the top run scorer for Gloucestershire with 283 at 40.42, but 207 of those runs were against Glamorgan in the first match of the season. Tom Price has been the one bright light, with 241 runs at 80.33 alongside 15 wickets at 23.26.
All of the Durham top order has been scoring runs, with Ollie Robinson in particular seemingly relishing his move north. He has 360 runs at 45.00 to go with his 14 catches and two stumpings. The one set back has been the injury to Brydon Carse in the last game. They have brought in Ajaz Patel to replace the injured Matt Kunhemann, but he went wicketless in first-time out.
Gloucestershire need runs from their top order and will be looking to Marcus Harris to contribute. He scored freely in the opening match of the season in Cardiff, but has a top score of just 37 from his last five innings. He would have been hoping to make a point to the Australian selectors and this is his last chance before the break for the start of the Blast.
Ben Raine is part of a potent new ball attack alongside Potts and has taken 23 wickets at 20.82. However it was with the bat that he won the game against Yorkshire, making 50 not out to see them home. This was his second half century of the season and with 165 runs at 33.00 he fulfils the definition of a quality all-rounder.
With the lack of second eleven cricket due to the poor weather, it has been difficult for players to push their case for selection. Gloucestershire put up a solid performance in their last game and there are unlikely to be significant changes.
Gloucestershire squad: TBC
Durham will be without Carse, but otherwise should be picking from strength.
Durham squad: TBC
Weather and Conditions
The weather has improved significantly over the last few weeks but there is a risk of some rain on day two.
It can be difficult to bowl teams out in Bristol and with some disruption possible it is likely that captains will want to bat first.
Date: 18th May 2023
Time: 11:00Ground: Seat Unique Stadium, Bristol