THE start of the 2023 cricket season came early to Lydney CC as they hosted University of Gloucestershire for the first time ever at The Bob Park Cricket Ground, writes Phil Lewis.

University of Gloucestershire, preparing for their upcoming varsity season, batted first.

Lydney made an early breakthrough as H Jones was caught in the slips by a diving Jack O’Connell off the bowling of Callum Miller for 0.

H Burridge (13) and K Tierney (6) soon came and went leaving the students on 38-3.

Hopes of Lydney pressing home the advantage was not however forthcoming as opener CJ Mclean and J Reddy put on 110 for the fourth wicket, Mclean eventually falling for a superb 91, caught on the boundary by Lydney skipper Alex Gooding off the bowling of Freddie Kemsley.

J Reddy also fell short of a century, being removed for 87 by Ed Jones, well caught by Niall Halford to add to his run out contribution earlier in the innings when dismissing Tierney.

Further wickets were claimed by Kemsley and a run out by Miller as the university side closed on 250-7 off 45 overs.

Wicket takers for Lydney: Miller 1-20 (nine), O’Connell 1-39 (sevn), Jones 1-52 (seven) andKemsley 2-25 (3).

Lydney opened up their reply with Dan Edmunds and Jack O’Connell.

Edmunds was caught in the slips for one in the second over.

However O’Connell was free flowing with some classic drives and back foot punches before being bowled for 26.

Halford (10), Bishop (three) and Kemsley (zero) all departed in quick succession to leave Lydney on 76-5 and a mountain to climb.

Gooding and Jones then provided some much needed resistance as they put on 55 for the sixth wicket before Jones unfortunately played on for seven.

By this point Gooding had passed his half century and the onus was on him now to get close to the 251 target.

However, Gooding fell for 71 as he was bowled by Reddy going for a big shot, Lydney by this point were 145-8 having also lost JP Ward (zero) beforehand.

The game was now beyond Lydney as the students took the final two wickets, Miller (five) and A Kear (zero) to seal a 102 run victory.

A good game, played in good spirit and huge compliments to the groundsman, Bob Park, for getting the pitch in such good condition so early into spring.