Bracey adds 83* to first-innings ton in match-clinching stand with Kraigg Brathwaite for eight-wicket win
Gloucestershire 309 (Bracey 118, Taylor 56, Dent 50) and 156 for 2 (Bracey 83*) beat Somerset 312 (Davies 87, Overton 54) and 149 (Hildreth 64, Higgins 4-29) by eight wickets
James Bracey displayed the temperament, as well as the talent, of a future England player as Gloucestershire wrapped up an eight-wicket LV=County Championship win over Somerset at Taunton.
The 23-year-old left-hander added an ice-cool 83 not out to his first-innings century and shared a match-clinching second-wicket stand of 79 with Kraigg Brathwaite to help his side to a comprehensive victory.
Brathwaite marked his Gloucestershire debut with a solid 36 and together the pair stifled the much-vaunted home seam attack.
The visitors reached their target of 153 off 41.1 overs just before lunch, with Tom Lace uneaten on 20, and took 22 points, to Somerset’s six.
Gloucestershire began the day on 28 for 1, needing 125 for victory, with nine wickets in hand, and would have been heartened by the clear blue skies over the Cooper Associates County Ground.
Bracey had shown his mettle the previous evening when taming a fired-up Craig Overton and was soon in control again as Somerset sought the early wickets that might create a contest.
The home side were hoping a couple of breakthroughs in the opening overs would create nerves in the Gloucestershire dressing room. But the pitch only served to show what a poor effort Somerset’s second-innings score of 149 had been.
While Overton and Lewis Gregory beat the bat on occasions, Bracey and Brathwaite were soon confident enough to play their shots.
The West Indies captain struck four boundaries in his 62-ball innings before aiming for a fifth off a wide ball from Marchant de Lange and getting an inside edge onto his middle stump.
By then, Gloucestershire only required 64 runs. But de Lange, boosted by the wicket, summoned pace and bounce to test new batsman Lace.
Bracey kept the momentum of the innings going with a swept four off Jack Leach, who found little assistance in the surface for his left-arm spin, and went to his fifty off 84 balls, with eight boundaries.
There was even a reverse-swept four off Leach as Bracey and Gloucestershire closed in rapidly on their target. A more orthodox and delicate sweep off the England spinner brought another boundary and Bracey was by now in total command.
Somerset turned to the wholehearted Overton for one last throw of the dice. He beat Bracey’s outside edge, but to no avail.
It was Gloucestershire’s first Championship win at Taunton for 28 years and the winning runs, a Bracey boundary off Leach, sparked jubilant celebrations. It was the 13th four of his 122-ball innings.
For Somerset, it was a first defeat in red ball cricket at their home ground since 2017.