Cricket: Benjamin steams in

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Gloucestershire 101 and 50-5; Worcestershire 222

BY TEA on the third day only five sessions had been played and Gloucestershire were in trouble. The groundsmen were convinced that there were only two ways the day's play would end; either Gloucestershire would lose by an innings, or rain would stop play.

The rain won at 4.55, but the groundsmen were probably right. Gloucestershire would have been hard put to escape an innings' defeat. At 50 for 5, they needed another 71 runs to make Worcestershire bat again.

It had been a short but rewarding afternoon's play during which Worcestershire's West Indian fast bowler, Ken Benjamin, with 4 for 31, was even more devastating than Gloucestershire's West Indian fast bowler, Courtney Walsh, who had 5 for 62.

Worcestershire batted cautiously and started the day well with a dignified 68 from Tim Curtis. They threatened to get a substantial lead but the last nine wickets added only 85. Even Graeme Hick found scoring arduous. His own 68 taking 197 balls, even longer than Curtis's, and when he looped a ball from Mark Davies to point it was as if he had become bored by his own batting.

None of Gloucester's batsmen lasted long. In the first innings the first five wickets fell for 55; in the second, the first five managed only 49.

Benjamin's middle names are Charlie Griffith and he bowled as if he had learned intimidation from a master. Chris Broad was the only Gloucester batsman to reach double figures (only the 6th sixth in the game so far), but 14 is fewer runs than the team expect from their new man.