County march on with another emphatic win

Steven Crook took seven wickets in the match as Northamptonshire beat Gloucestershire in Bristol
Steven Crook took seven wickets in the match as Northamptonshire beat Gloucestershire in Bristol

Northamptonshire strengthened their position at the top of LV= County Championship Division Two with a seven-wicket victory over Gloucestershire at Bristol.

The hosts began the final day on 280 for nine in their second innings, leading by only 68, and added 19 runs in 25 minutes before being bowled out for 299, Jack Taylor last man out for 48.

That left Northamptonshire requiring 88 to win and, despite some spirited Gloucestershire bowling, which accounted for Kyle Coetzer, Stephen Peters and Alex Wakely, they reached 90 for three off 22.3 overs just before lunch.

The visitors took a maximum 24 points from the game, while Gloucestershire had to be content with three. To compound their disappointment, neither Benny Howell nor Liam Norwell fielded in the Northants’ second innings because of injuries.

Taylor produced some defiant blows, including a six over wide long-on off Trent Copeland, in adding 12 to his overnight score at the start of the day.

His resistance ended when he got a bottom edge on to his stumps to give Steven Crook his fourth wicket of the innings, seventh of the match and 18th of the season.

Taylor had faced 67 balls and hit seven fours and a six.

Crook finished with four for 48 off 26.1 overs, while fellow seamer Andrew Hall returned three for 69 from 21 overs.

A bitterly cold day stayed dry for Northants, who contrived to lose openers Coetzer and Peters with only 18 on the board.

Coetzer was first to go, well taken low down by Taylor at mid-wicket off David Payne, for five.

Then Peters miscued a leg-side shot to substitute fielder Graeme McCarter off Will Gidman and departed for seven.

Wakely counter-attacked with a brisk 20, hitting Taylor’s off-spin for a straight six and a four through wide long-on.

But in the same over he mis-hit another attacking shot to Chris Dent at mid-wicket to leave the visitors 51 for three.

The reassuring presence of David Sales was at the wicket by then.

He and Rob Newton saw Northants safely to their modest target, Sales ending unbeaten on 29.