County Championship: Gloucestershire beat Middlesex to boost hopes of making Division One

​​​​Matt Taylor and Dan Worrall each claimed five-wicket hauls as Gloucestershire remained on course for a top-two finish in their LV= Insurance County Championship group with a thumping 164-run win over struggling Middlesex at Cheltenham.

Middlesex, set 420 to win in a day and a half, reached 201-3 on the fourth and final day to raise hope of a draw, with Stevie Eskinazi scoring 102, his seventh first-class ton and just the third by a Middlesex batsman in the Championship this season.

However, Eskinazi was then caught off Australian Worrall (5-54) at leg gully and when New Zealander Daryl Mitchell (73) was lbw to Taylor (5-40), Middlesex went on to lose four wickets for no runs – Taylor striking four times in 10 balls – and their final six wickets for just 14 runs to be 255 all out.

  • Scorecard: Gloucestershire vs Middlesex
  • County Championship Group 2 table

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Gloucestershire are now second in Group 2, five points behind Somerset and six ahead of a Hampshire side they will host at Cheltenham from Sunday in the final round of group games.

The top two at the end of that will qualify for Division One later this summer and remain in contention to win both the County Championship and Bob Willis Trophy.

Middlesex, though, are rock-bottom of the pool after suffering a seventh defeat in nine games.

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Gloucestershire bowler Taylor triggered Middlesex’s collapse on Thursday afternoon when he trapped Mitchell – who had added 145 with Eskinazi for the fourth wicket – leg before with a full in-swinger and then had Martin Andersson (0) caught behind by wicketkeeper James Bracey next delivery.

Nathan Sowter (0) survived Taylor’s hat-trick ball but then gloved to second slip in Taylor’s next over, which became the bowler’s second consecutive double-wicket over when Blake Cullen (0) edged a brilliant out-swinger behind to Bracey.

Taylor’s dismissal of Cullen completed the sixth five-wicket haul of his first-class career and Worrall moved onto a ninth as he snared the final two wickets, with Ethan Bamber (3) caught at short leg and Robbie White (32) pouched at deep square.

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