Walsh wades in

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The Independent Online
Gloucestershire 569

Warwickshire 216 and 237

Gloucs won by inns & 116 runs

Life after Dermot Reeve is not so sweet for Warwickshire, whose faltering defence of the title took another turn for the worse yesterday. Gloucestershire have reserved their best performance by far, in an otherwise disappointing season, for the incumbent champions, and recorded only their second victory of the summer.

One measure of Gloucestershire's problems is that this is the first match in six attempts that they have managed to pick up any batting bonus points. But the run drought was ended emphatically here with a record first-innings total against Warwickshire.

Not even Warwickshire's recently-retired captain could have done much to stem the ensuing onslaught from Courtney Walsh. This was a day for bruised fingers and battered egos as the West Indian exploited a hard, true, pacey pitch to the full.

There is no finer sight in cricket than Walsh at his flowing, menacing best. It took him just under half an hour to wrap up Warwickshire's first innings and even less to polish off the tail for a second time, to finish with match figures of 11 for 117.

Walsh's first spell was an object lesson on how to see off potentially stubborn tail-enders. Ashley Giles was struck on the helmet and jabbed the next delivery low to leg slip. Tim Munton took a painful blow on the fingers and the entire ground waited for the yorker. It came and Munton went. Between these dismissals was the demise of Dominic Ostler, who drove a sharp return chance to Walsh.

The follow-on was duly enforced and the clatter of wickets continued unabated. Walsh provided wicket-keeper Richard Williams with two catches, the second of which was a fine diving effort to dismiss Trevor Penney. At the other end Mike Smith bowled a hostile and fruitful spell for two wickets.

As in the first innings, Ostler was the pick of the Warwickshire batsmen. He rode his luck with some streakier shots through the slips, but refused to be cowed and hit some attractive drives and pulls. He fell to a bat- pad catch off Richard Davis just 10 short of a century.

With the spinners camped at one end, Walsh used himself in short spells to pick off the remaining wickets. Only Shaun Pollock looked comfortable as he made a breezy 50, but Walsh returned after tea to take two wickets in two balls and end the resistance.