Winning start for Glos in Sri Lanka

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Gloucestershire Under 18s v Ananda Sastralaya at the Sappers Cricket Club, Colombo

Gloucestershire Under 18s 255 all out (47.1 overs)

Ananda Sastralaya 169-9 (50 overs)

Gloucestershire won by 87 runs

Gloucestershire Under 18s made a winning start to their Sri Lanka tour with an 87 run victory over school-side Ananda Sastralaya.

Captain Tom Price led from the front, top-scoring with 69 and taking 1-17 with the ball in hot and humid conditions.

After winning the toss Gloucestershire got off to a flying start thanks to Milo Ayres (Brislington) and Ed Webb (Thornbury).

Aided by some wayward bowling, the pair raced to 46 before Ayres (30) – who had already struck two boundaries in the over was caught behind off the bowling of Thimira (2-45) in the sixth. Joe Dryell (5) (Downend) fell to the same man soon after through a brilliant one-handed diving caught and bowled.

This brought skipper Tom Price (Great and Little Tew) to the crease and he quickly got into his stride, adding 47 with Webb before the Thornbury man edged one to ‘keeper by Tharusha off Avishka (1-22) for a well-made 24 to leave the score on 107-3.

Despite the fall of the wicket Price took control of the innings, mixing elegant strokeplay with intelligent rotation of the strike. And he found a willing partner in Dom Goodman (Clifton College) who scored 10 singles in his first 12 scoring shots to ensure Price continued to have the lion’s share of the strike.

As seam turned to spin the two batsmen continued to look unflustered and used the sweep to good effect to keep the boundaries coming at regular intervals. These included the first six of the tour – a powerful slog sweep from Goodman that comfortably cleared the rope and disappeared into the lush undergrowth behind. The pair added a chanceless 82 for the fourth wicket  but  began to tire in the energy-sapping heat. Goodman eventually fell to Venuk for 42, caught on the boundary attempting a repeat of his maximum. He went in the 29th over and Price followed five overs later – caught a point off Isuru (3-39) for an impressive 68.

With two new men at the crease and the scoring rate having slowed, the home side sensed a chance to reign the visitors back in. And they duly did so as Gloucestershire struggled to put another meaningful partnership together. Impeccable catching and three wickets for Chamindu (3-39) saw the Glos innings falter to a premature conclusion, all out for 255 with 17 balls remaining.

In reply Glos were unlucky not to make an early breakthrough as Jack Clement (Hatherley and Reddings) beat the bat on a number of occasions. When he limped off injured his replacement Ollie Price (1-28) struck with his first ball, trapping Sonara lbw for 24 to make it 35-1 in the 12th.

Despite a number of promising starts the hosts were never able to put together the sort of big partnership that would threaten the Gloucestershire total and wickets fell at regular intervals. The second wicket fell through a run out with the score on 54 and when the Tom Price broke a third wicket partnership of 34 the Ananda innings began to unravel. Spinners Ben Parker (3-38) (Winterbourne) and Harvey Jupp  (1-38)(Lechlade) both picked up wickets, as did the (until now?!) part-time seam of Webb who took 2-19 to ensure his side finished on top.

Gloucestershire Under 16 Girls started their tour with a 6 wicket victory in their opening game. Frenchay’s Maddie Hughes was the star of the show taking 6-15. She was well-supported by Ella Budd (3-23) as Glos bowled Wadduwa Central College out for 117. In reply Chloe Skelton (31), Millie Ashford (29) and Olivia Freer (20) all contributed as the team reached their target in the 26th over.

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