Somerset 591-7 dec beat Gloucestershire 186 & 159 by an innings and 246 runs

SOMERSET steamrollered Gloucestershire’s patched-up team to complete a record-breaking LV= County Championship victory by an innings and 246 runs inside three days at Bristol.

It was the Cider county’s biggest ever margin of victory over their arch-rivals, which was previously by an innings and 170 at Taunton back in 1893, a match in which WG Grace featured for the visitors.

Gloucestershire, without injured skipper Graeme van Buuren, were bowled out for 186 in their first innings from an overnight 119 for four, Jack Leach finishing with five for 49 from 25.4 overs.

There was no respite for a home side including three new loan signings when they followed on 405 behind beneath cloudless skies. Leach completed match figures of eight for 90, while teenager Jacob Bethell hit 61 in a total of 159.

Somerset took 23 points to Gloucestershire’s one and have now reeled off successive victories after losing their first three Championship fixtures.

There was concern for Somerset when Overton was forced off by a twinge in his left knee, but the England all-rounder was able to return to bowl at the end of the innings.

Josh Davey made the breakthrough for Somerset with the total on 144, rapping Ryan Higgins on the back pad and pinning him lbw for 31, before quickly having Zafar Gofar taken at slip.

The rest of the wickets fell shortly after lunch and Gloucestershire’s second innings had reached 24 in the ninth over when George Scott edged Peter Siddle straight to James Hildreth at second slip.

Bethell had again given a lesson in technique to more experienced colleagues. But any hopes of a recovery disappeared in the over after the interval when James Bracey swept Leach and Tom Abell took an outstanding catch, one-handed above his head at backward square leg.

Luck continued to desert injury-plagued Gloucestershire as Bethell slipped when called for a quick single off Leach by Zafar Gohar, who was forced to turn back and failed to beat Abell’s throw to the bowler’s end.

Chappell was bowled off an inside edge for 20 by Overton, who then took a low catch at second slip off Leach to remove Taylor.

Bethell’s mature batting in a crisis brought him a deserved half-century off 84 balls, with 8 fours. But when he swept Leach into the hands of Lammonby at deep square, Somerset celebrated an overwhelming success.

Words by Richard Latham