Craig Overton takes timely four-for as Gloucestershire, Somerset draw

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Both sides have a strong chance of qualifying for Division One

Gloucestershire27 for 6 (Overton 4-16) drew with Somerset 300 for 8 dec (Abell 132*, Gregory 57)

The weather forecast is bleak beyond contention yet the cricketers are still practising in their morning nets. Most days in the summer and many in the winter you will find them there or indoors, preparing not merely for the next few hours but for the next game, the next week, the next season. They say Tom Graveney had a net every day of the season; an artist ensuring he could still draw a perfect circle. And here are Graveney’s heirs on a ground he once called home. One feels strangely honoured to watch them on this dull Sunday morning when there’s not a hope in hell of three sessions’ play…

But it was not just professionalism and a hard-earned distrust of meteorology that informed the players’ warm-ups at the County Ground. There remains every chance that both these counties will qualify for Division One of the County Championship in late summer. If so, they will not meet again in another West Country derby but will play only the other four teams in the top division. However, they will carry through half the number of points they gained in the two matches they have played against each other in the conference stage. This meant that when Craig Overton pinned Tom Smith with the seventh ball of the day the bonus point Somerset gained for taking three wickets will be worth half a point at the sharp end of the summer, always provided, of course, that Gloucestershire also qualify for the top division.

And Somerset’s bowlers were not finished. Two balls after Smith departed Tom Lace was strangled down the leg side, which, to judge from his reaction, was more or less what the former Middlesex batsman would have liked to have done to Steve O’Shaughnessy the instant he saw the finger go up. Next over Kraigg Brathwaite clipped Josh Davey very low to short midwicket where Tom Abell took a good catch to his left. The trap could not have been more obvious had Somerset’s captain carried a large sign round his neck with the words: “This is a trap” written upon it. Baldrick would probably have considered the ruse beneath his dignity. Either way, Gloucestershire were 21 for 5, Somerset needed one more wicket for another point and nobody needed to visit the moral maze to guess which team welcomed the rain that began a few minutes later.

(With Inputs from ESPN)

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