Essex ease to opening win

Napier picks up 5-58 as Gloucestershire collapse again

Last Updated: 07/04/12 1:46pm

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Graham Napier: Essex paceman made strong start to his benefit season

Graham Napier: Essex paceman made strong start to his benefit season

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Essex completed a landslide win over Gloucestershire with a day to spare in their County Championship Division Two opener at Chelmsford.

Resuming on the third morning at 55-5 following on, Gloucestershire needed another 129 just to make their hosts bat again.

And they did not come close, collapsing to 146 all out as Essex sealed victory by an innings-and-38 runs before lunch.

Paceman Graham Napier, who is celebrating his benefit year, did the major damage second time around, finishing with 5-58.

Napier broke a 41-run stand between overnight pair Ian Cockbain and Will Gidman, trapping Gidman lbw for 39, the top score of the innings.

Seamer David Masters had Cockbain (21) caught behind in the next over before Napier completed the sixth five-wicket hail of his first-class career when James Fuller (0) mistimed a pull to mid-off.

All-rounder Greg Smith (1-20) claimed his first wicket for Essex when Paul Muchall (2) prodded to short-leg and teenage paceman Tymal Mills (1-5) ended proceedings when Ed Young (23) holed out in the covers.

Essex picked up 23 points for their efforts, while Gloucestershire head back to the westcountry with three points to their name and plenty of thinking to do.

Day Two

Gloucestershire ended day two against Essex on 55-5 in their second innings after being to follow on in the Division Two clash at Chelmsford.

Replying to the home side's total of 364 that was built around a fine century from Billy Godleman, Gloucestershire were skittled out for 180 in 58.4 overs, debutant Dan Housego top-scoring with 39.

The visitors simply fell apart to the seamers, David Masters, Maurice Chambers and the promising young Tymal Mills all taking three wickets apiece for Essex.

Skipper James Foster opted to make Gloucestershire bat again - and it didn't go much better for the away county at the second attempt.

Graham Napier seized his chance with the new ball, claiming 3-20 in a hurry to put Essex on course for an innings victory. Richard Coughtrie was one of his victims, the opener failing to trouble the scorers despite facing 33 balls.

With Masters removing Housego, a winter recruit from Middlesex, and

Hamish Marshall in successive overs shortly before the close, the Eagles dared to think about a two-day win. Instead they will have to return on Saturday knowing they are still 129 runs away from having to bat for a second time.

Day One

Opener Billy Godleman scored a century on day one at Chelmsford as Essex were all out for 364 against Gloucestershire.

The left-hander spent most of the day at the crease before eventually being bowled for an equal career best 130 by Gloucestershire seamer Iain Saxelby, Essex's eighth wicket to fall.

Adam Wheater was the home side's second-highest scorer with a quick-fire 56 from just 47 deliveries, hitting 11 fours in the process.

Tom Westley (33), Greg Smith (34), James Foster (46) and Graham Napier (27) also made useful contributions, while New Zealander James Fuller (3-86) was the pick of the visiting bowlers, along with Saxelby (3-76), who both claimed three wickets.

Essex were all out in the final over of the day when Fuller dismissed David Masters.

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