Downpour in Dambulla ends winning run

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Gloucestershire U18s v St Anne’s College at the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium

St Anne’s 148 all out (43.2 overs)

Gloucestershire 78-1 (8.3 overs)

Match Drawn

Gloucestershire were denied a fourth win in a row as heavy rain stopped play prematurely at the impressive Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium.

The visitors needed just 71 runs with nine wickets left and 36.3 overs remaining when the tropical storm ended hopes of maintaining their 100% record in Sri Lanka.

But the side will take heart from another impressive performance where the result never seemed in question.

Glos lost the toss but started strongly as the fit-again Jack Clement (Hatherley and Reddings) hit a good rhythm and struck in the third over, trapping Chandimal LBW for 4.

The tourists kept it tight but had to wait until the 15th over for their second wicket, Bandara LBW to Ben Parker (Winterbourne) to make it 43-2. St Anne’s kept their cool and continued to accumulate runs at a steady pace, adding 36 for the third wicket before skipper Ollie Price (Great and Little Tew) removed his opposite number, Lasith (20) thanks to a catch from ‘keeper Matt Brewer (Bristol).

St Anne’s rebuilt again with another 36 run partnership between Wanitha and Kavindu that threatened to give their side the upper hand. But it ended with the score on 116 as Kavindu (18) hit a Kiran Chakraborty (Corse and Staunton)full toss down the throat of Sujan Canagarajah (Bristol) on the leg side boundary. This proved the catalyst for a collapse that saw St Anne’s lose their last seven wickets for 32 runs as the Gloucestershire pressure told.

The returning Clement (2-8) bowled Demitha with no addition to the scoreboard before a sharp bit of work by Brewer brought Parker (2-25) his second wicket with a stumping to make it 126-6. Six balls later Tom Price (1-15)picked up the prized wicket of  Wanitha – caught behind for 39 – with the score still on 126.

Ollie Price (3-43) came back into the attack and took two wickets before taking a catch off Chakraborty (2-10) to finish the innings and leave Glos needing 149 to win in 45 overs.

Although they had 45 overs Milo Ayres ( Brislington) looked intent on ending the match long before that point as he began in characteristically aggressive fashion. The left hander struck his first ball for four – a sumptuous cover drive – before smashing another four boundaries from his next six balls.

He continued to smash the St Anne’s attack to all parts, racing to a half century in the seventh over. Meanwhile Johnnie Gunn  (6*)(Poulton) was more than content to rotate the strike and watch the fireworks from the other end.

The local umpires had warned of rain coming in at 3.30pm but as the sky grew increasingly dark the heavens opened more than an hour ahead of schedule. The rain was already falling when Ayres found Kavindu in the deep off the bowling of Sasanka for 66, made from just 29 deliveries with 13 fours and a six. This proved the last ball of the match as the rainstorm took hold and ended any hope of Glos completing the job.

The tourists play their final match of the tour tomorrow, looking to maintain their unbeaten record.

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