Bowlers give Essex belief at Gloucestershire

PUBLISHED: 19:24 15 July 2016 | UPDATED: 19:24 15 July 2016

Ravi Bopara appeals for a wicket (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Ravi Bopara appeals for a wicket (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

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Division Two leaders set for final-day run chase

Four wickets apiece from New Zealander Matt Quinn and Graham Napier helped put Essex on top against Gloucestershire on day three of their County Championship clash at Cheltenham College.

The pair ran through the home line-up as the last nine wickets fell for 105 to see Division Two leaders Essex left needing 213 for victory.

And although they lost Jaik Mickleburgh cheaply in the final few overs of the day, the visitors should be favourites as they go in search of 197 runs on the last day.

Having replied to Gloucestershire’s 255 with 333, thanks largely to a third first-class century from Dan Lawrence, just two days after his 19th birthday, Essex saw Chris Dent and Gareth Roderick get the home side off to a flying start.

The opening duo had put on 49 when rain stopped play and led to a short delay and continued to score freely to wipe out Essex’s 78-run lead from first innings.

Another shower cut the opening session short and saw Gloucestershire go into lunch 88-0 and the opening pair had put on 148 in 32 overs, before Ravi Bopara finally broke through to dismiss Dent for 72.

But Gloucestershire advanced to 185-1, before Graeme van Buuren fell to Quinn, who had taken seven wickets in the first innings, as he edged to James Foster down the leg side.

Roderick then reached his century, from 134 balls with 11 fours, only to fall soon after for 102, trapped leg before by Bopara (2-41) to make it 228-3.

Three more runs were added before tea, but Essex struck soon after the restart to prompt a middle-order collapse.

Hamish Marshall and Jack Taylor fell four balls apart to Quinn and Napier, both without scoring, and Kieran Noema-Barnett became Quinn’s 10th victim of the match when caught by Nick Browne at slip.

Quinn (4-87) then had Craig Miles caught by captain Ryan ten Doeschate at leg slip to make it 266-7, before Napier removed David Payne and Liam Norwell for ducks, both caught by Foster, to leave the hosts nine down.

Michael Klinger kept his end up and reached his half-century from 112 balls with six fours, as last man Josh Shaw offered support.

But Klinger was left stranded on 53 when Napier (4-62) wrapped up the innings with the new ball on 290, leaving Essex to chase 213 for victory.

The visitors had seven overs to navigate before the close and saw Mickleburgh play a ball from Payne onto his own stumps.

But nightwatchman Jamie Porter helped Browne get through to the finish, edging a four through the slip cordon as Essex closed on 16-1.

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