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Gloucestershire Under 15 Boys v Middlesex Under 15 Boys (at the Bristol County Ground), August 15 2019
ECB Under 15 Royal London Cup Quarter Final
Gloucestershire 224-9 (50 overs)
Middlesex 135 all out (38 overs)
Gloucestershire won by 89 runs

Gloucestershire Under 15 Boys booked their place in the semi-finals of the ECB Royal London Cup with a convincing 89 run win over Middlesex.

They will face Yorkshire on August 21 for a place in the final on the following day after a superb allround display at the home of Gloucestershire Cricket, the Bristol County Ground.

After losing the toss, Sami Hamid’s (Winterbourne) men were asked to bat, with Will Hope (Great Rissington) and Tommy Boorman (Dumbleton) tasked with seeing off the new ball.  Boorman clipped a ball off his legs through mid-wicket and looked perfectly at home, before being judged LBW to Ramzan, in just the second over with the score on 11.

Left hander George Driver Dickerson (Rockhampton) came to the crease in a bid to build a partnership, only to get caught behind with only 3 added to the score.  New man Stanley Brown (Cheltenham) hit a boundary early on being bowled to make  it 20-3.  With the home side now under real pressure they someone needed to dig in and bring some stability to the situation.  Hope did just that with a disciplined and dogged innings of 21.  Nick Schubach (9) (Dumbleton) and Hope doubled the score before the former was run out looking for a tight second.

The home side were on 44-4, as Praneel Choughule (Thornbury) walked to the crease.  He set about restoring order with a patient innings that included some crisp stroke play through the off side and careful running between the wickets.  When Hope was caught behind for a gutsy 21 from 67 balls the score on 68-5 with Middlesex well on top. The situation went from bad to worse for Glos at 68-5 became 72-7 soon afterwards.

But Choughule and wicketkeeper Ollie Elliott (Cheltenham) proved to be Gloucestershire’s saviours with the bat and gave the home side a fighting chance with an outstanding 109 run partnership.  Elliott took the attack to the opposition with some explosive shots, including five sixes and 4 fours. At the other end Choughule was the perfect foil, playing a more patient innings of 56 off 91 balls before being bowled attempting a pull shot to make it 181-8. Glos lost their ninth wicket one ball later and seven overs left, it was important that Will Gilderson (Dumbleton) occupied the crease and supported Elliott in a bid to top 200.  He did just that and at the other end Elliott now opened up, hitting beautiful straight sixes and some innovative ramps to push the score to 224-9 and end on 85 not out.

In reply Gloucestershire opened up with the left arm spin of Ryan Kilmister (Dumbleton) and the pace of Brown. They started well but it took the introduction of offspinner Choughule to get the breakthrough when Schubach took a fantastic catch to dismiss Imman with the score on 19.

The Middlesex batsmen ran well between the wickets and recovered to 68 before Choughule struck again. This time Driver Dickerson took the catch to start a collapse which saw Middlesex go from 68-1 to 78-4.  Choughule claimed his third of the match when Noori was caught by Hamid at extra cover and Hope (2-22) joined the fray with a caught behind to dismiss walker.

Now buzzing with belief, Glos now had the momentum and continued to make inroads into the visitors’ batting line-up.  Hope claimed his second to make it 98-5 and Chougule capped off a tremendous allround day with two more as Middlesex slumped to 115-7. Choughule finished with a brilliant 5-11 from nine overs to put his side in the driving seat.

Glos still needed three wickets for victory and Thornbury’s Rhys Price (2-32) was involved in all three.  First he had Ramzan caught by Hope for 9 before running out skipper Bulathsinhala off his own bowling for 10. He then brought the curtain down on a famous Glos win with his second wicket – John caught Hamid for 1 – as the Middlesex innings came to a close 89 runs short of their target.

Glos will play Yorkshire at Kibworth Cricket Club on August 21 for a place in the final on August 22.

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