All-round heroics from Tom Smith help Gloucestershire keep hopes of Royal-London defence alive

Gloucestershire prevailed by 51 runs over Sussex in their Royal London One-Day Cup clash in Cheltenham

All-round heroics from Tom Smith help Gloucestershire keep hopes of Royal-London defence alive
Tom Smith was Gloucestershire's hero in their win over Sussex (image via:

Gloucestershire's hopes of retaining the Royal London One-Day Cup are still alive, after they beat Sussex by 51 runs in their South Group fixture on Sunday.

The win, which bought an end to another highly successful Cheltenham Festival, came thanks to an excellent display from spinner Tom Smith

After scoring an unbeaten 43 with the bat, Smith recorded brilliant figures of 4-26 from his ten overs as Gloucestershire defended their total of 242 with ease.

Lower-order salvage 242 for the hosts after Jordan impresses

Having been inserted by Sussex, the home side got off to a disappointing start in their innings, losing Chris Dent early on for just 10, and handing debutant Jofra Archer his first List A wicket with just his 12th delivery. 

Ian Cockbain followed Dent back to the sheds for just eight in the ninth over, before Hamish Marshall became the first of Chris Jordan's victims, losing his wicket for 11, to leave the home side 66-3.

Things then became even more perilous for the hosts, when captain and influential batsman Michael Klinger was adjudged LBW for 46 off of the bowling of Will Beer as Sussex tightened the screw in the middle overs. 

Beer then picked up his second wicket, having Benny Howell caught-behind for 19, before Jordan bowled Graeme van Buuren for 38 which left Smith and the tail 15 overs to try and set a challenging total.

They did just that, using all 300 balls available to finish on 242-8, with Smith (43*), sharing partnerships of 42 with Kieran Noema-Barnett (29) and 45 with the game's second one-day debutant Patrick Grieshaber (20 off 18), with the young wicket-keeper the third batsman to be bowled by Jordan (3-55) with the final ball of the innings.

Smith strangles Sussex who fall to heavey defeat despite Finch's 87*

With many in the belief that Gloucestershire had posted a below-par total, a strong start by Sussex in their innings would have had them well on the way to victory.

That didn't materialise though, and they found themselves 59-4 at the end of the 12th over to tip the game in the hosts favour. Ed Joyce was the first to go to a smart catch from Van Buuren off the bowling of Matt Taylor for seven, having already given up two opportunities to fielders earlier in his knock. 

Philip Salt then feathered behind to Grieshaber off of Craig Miles, before captain Luke Wright played a headless shot off Taylor, slapping a pull straight to mid-on to lose his wicket for 18. 

Smith then bowled Chris Nash for six, before the game's biggest partnership saw Sussex survive 118 deliveries without losing another wicket. The pair of Harry Finch and Ben Brown were only able to add 70 runs in that period of play though, as Gloucestershire's slower bowlers managed to keep it tight.

Harry Finch was Sussex's standout batsman with 87* (image via:

Brown eventually fell for 39 from 70 balls, slapping a delivery from Howell to Cockbain at backward-point, with Jordan then losing his wicket eight overs later for an uncharacteristically slow 14. The England man edged Smith behind to Grieshaber to leave Sussex needed an improbable 87 from the last ten overs. 

The one-man who looked capable on a slow pitch was Finch, who batted for more than 40 overs for his unbeaten 87, but soon ran out of partners as the run-chase continued to falter.

An excellent caught-and-bowled from Smith accounted for the wicket of Archer, before Gloucestershire's man-of-the-match then had Ajmal Shahzad expertly caught on the boundary by a diving Dent, with the same fielder then running-out Beer in the following over as Gloucestershire closed in on a crucial victory. 

After Smith completed his ten over spell of 4-26, it was left for Howell to wrap the innings up, bowling Danny Briggs for one, leaving Finch stranded on 87 and Sussex 52 runs short of their target. 

A confidence-boosting victory for the 2015 champions should stand them in good stead for the remainder of the group stage, where they will probably still need victories over Surrey, Kent and Essex to qualify for the knockout stages.