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Warwickshire staring over precipice of relegation

Tom Price produced an inspired career-best performance to ease Gloucestershire to a three-wicket triumph over fellow LV=County Championship First Division strugglers Warwickshire at Bristol’s Seat Unique Stadium.

Cricket
Cricket

Gloucestershire’s young academy product claimed a remarkable haul of 8-23 and match figures of 10-73 to put the skids under Warwickshire, who were shot out for 128 inside 39 overs in their second innings as this entertaining contest rushed to a premature conclusion on the third day.

Set a modest 148 to win, the home side recovered from 30-4 to reach their target in 48.2 overs thanks to experienced opener Chris Dent and skipper Graeme van Buuren, who scored 64 and 49 respectively and staged a match-winning stand of 97.

Gloucestershire banked 21 points and, while their first victory in 13 attempts in red-ball cricket this summer has come too late to save them from relegation, it at least represents a silver lining. As for Warwickshire (5 points), they remain second from bottom of the table and, with one game to play, look like joining Gloucestershire in the Second Division next year.

Crowned champions just 12 months ago, the Bears have suffered a dramatic fall from grace. Buoyed by Dom Sibley’s outstanding unbeaten hundred in the first innings, they appeared well-set to forge their second win of the season and keep alive their survival hopes, only to suffer a calamitous collapse in the face of relentless accuracy from Price.

This startling defeat will benefit fellow strugglers Kent and Somerset, whose fate will reside in their own hands when they meet in the final round of games at Canterbury next week.

So parlous is the position Warwickshire find themselves in, that even victory in their last outing against Hampshire at Edgbaston is likely to save them.

Warwickshire sport director Paul Farbrace said: “We have no divine right to win any game and this one kind of summed up our season.”

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