Sale of Bristol ground back on the agenda as Gloucestershire losses approach £1m

County Ground, Bristol
The sun has shone on Bristol for parts of this latest round of the Championship, but there are dark clouds on the horizon - Getty Images/Dan Mullan

Yorkshire need to take six wickets on day four to kick-start their push for promotion to Division One, but if Gloucestershire do lose – they require 400 more runs for victory – it will not be their biggest loss of the day. When their annual accounts are published they are expected to show a loss of almost £1 million.

The fight for existence of smaller first-class counties gets tougher. Gloucestershire posted a loss of £570,000 in their 2023 accounts, when their treasurer Rebecca Watkin announced: “We certainly cannot continue to post deficits indefinitely.” But they have, and it is understood to be almost twice as large.

The rationale for the county of WG Grace to sell up in Bristol and move somewhere cheaper will only gather pace after the latest announcement. Nevil Road may have its historical associations, dating back to the time Grace recommended it as the county’s headquarters, but the land could be sold for anywhere between £25 and £40 million for housing development, with the club moving to a new ground near the junction of the M4 and M5.

On the field normal service was resumed by Joe Root, who followed his first competitive innings of this season – of two runs – with 51 off 60 balls. In his first innings he had been falling across the crease, even before he was leg-before to a straight ball, but second time round he did not plant his front foot too soon and he often inched or even strode towards the ball to rid himself of the bad habit.

Against the home spinners, Root was as near to perfection as his partner Harry Brook. Root’s second ball was a stock ball from the stocky left-arm spinner Graeme van Buuren, and Root part-drove off the back foot, part-forced and part-cut it for four.

Brook was untroubled by any short-pitched bowling second time round as the home pacers recognised that Yorkshire had an insuperable lead. He did face one bouncer though and hooked it, or rather helped it, over the wicketkeeper’s head for four: a shot which Learie Constantine tried in the Oval Test of 1939, by his own account, but otherwise unsighted before T20.

Root was content with a less ambition ramp-shot which went for a single. Gloucestershire’s wicketkeeper had stood up to the stumps the ball before so there was some logic behind this shot.

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