Gloucestershire 362 (Higgins 105, Hammond 51, Stokes 5-52) and 252 (Noema-Barnett 69*, Stokes 3-66) beatDurham 275 (Latham 147, Higgins 3-41) and 298 (Steel 62, Wood 61*, Taylor 4-31) by 41 runs
Matt Taylor led the way with four wickets as Gloucestershire recorded their second Specsavers County Championship win of the season with a 41-run success against Durham at Cheltenham. The left-arm seamer finished with 4 for 31 from 16 overs to help bowl out the visitors for 298, chasing a victory target of 340.
Cameron Steel and Tom Latham gave Durham a promising start, but they wilted against Taylor, Craig Miles and Ryan Higgins on another sweltering afternoon and Mark Wood’s unbeaten 61 proved in vain.
Gloucestershire took 23 points from their first Championship win since the opening round of fixtures, while their opponents had to be content with five after four days of tough and competitive cricket.
Durham began the day on 35 without loss and enjoyed the better of the morning session. Latham and Steel took their opening stand to 94 against some accurate Gloucestershire bowling before Latham fenced at a ball from Matt Taylor and edged through to Gareth Roderick.
Steel was unbeaten on 57 at lunch, with the total 121 for 1, but he when he perished in the second over after the interval, lbw to Miles falling across his stumps, it signalled a transformation in fortunes. Taylor and Higgins settled in to bowl probing spells from the Chapel End and College Lawn End respectively, tying the batsmen down and making vital breakthroughs.
Higgins removed Graham Clark and Will Smith during a six-over spell that brought him 2 for 23, Clark falling to a fine full-length diving catch by Roderick and Smith pinned lbw.
Taylor was equally impressive and claimed the key wicket of Ben Stokes, who had begun positively, but moved to only 9 before being bowled on the back foot. The same fate befell Stuart Poynter, on 8, and at 201 for 6, Durham still required a further 139.
They were given renewed hope by Wood and Michael Richardson, who took the score to 226 for 6 at tea and continued to bat solidly in the final session. Wood was dropped on 18 by Miles Hammond at cover off Kieran Noema-Barnett and responded by hitting four fours in an over from Miles just before the second new ball.
Richardson had helped add 59 when falling lbw for 26 looking to work Miles through the leg side. Soon it was 267 for 8 as Matt Salisbury was bowled on the back-foot by Miles for a single.
Gloucestershire had their tails up, but while Wood was there Durham had a chance. He began to run out of partners when George Harding chipped a tame catch to midwicket off Taylor and departed for 7.
Wood, who was able to bowl only six overs in the match because of a sore heel, moved to a defiant fifty off 74 balls, with nine fours. But when Chris Rushworth was caught behind to give Higgins his third wicket, Gloucestershire had won with 11 overs left in the day’s play.