Gloucestershire 298 for 5 (Bracey 104*, Taylor 95) beat Nottinghamshire 294 (Budinger 89) by five wickets
Australian Marcus Harris weighed in with a useful 48, while offspinner Matt Montgomery proved the pick of the Nottinghamshire bowlers, returning figures of 2 for 48 from seven overs.
Gloucestershire relied heavily on spin, Taylor, Tom Smith and Zafar Gohar sending down 30 overs and taking five wickets between them, while Paul van Meekeren claimed 3 for 73 on a day when the home side’s seam attack found the going hard.
Back-to-back victories over Somerset and Nottinghamshire have revived Gloucestershire’s prospects of making the knockout stages and their account will move into credit if they defeat Durham at Riverside on Friday. Despite suffering a first defeat of the campaign in this format, Nottinghamshire will remain well-placed to reach the quarter-finals should they overcome Middlesex at Trent Bridge in their next outing.
In buoyant mood following comprehensive victories over Sussex and Somerset, Nottinghamshire’s top-order seized the initiative after winning the toss, Budinger and Slater trading almost exclusively in boundaries to raise 50 in 7.5 overs as Gloucestershire’s seamers struggled with their line.
Boasting a career average of 55 in List-A matches, Slater had moved effortlessly to 34 from 36 balls when he drove Zafar and was brilliantly held by Chris Dent on the run at mid-on.
Striking the ball cleanly from the outset, Budinger required 33 deliveries to raise 50, in the process taking van Meekeren for 17 runs in one over. Demonstrating guile in the face of spin, he was just 11 runs short of what would have been a sparkling hundred when an unexpected loss of concentration caused him to hoist slow left armer Smith to the long-on boundary.
Unperturbed by Nottinghamshire’s early onslaught, Gloucestershire opted to take the pace off, Taylor and Smith bowling in tandem to good effect as the visitors, handily-placed on 117 for 2, lost six wickets for the addition of 99 runs in 22 overs.
When James was bowled by Jared Warner in the 40th over, so ending a sensible knock, Gloucestershire sensed an opportunity with Notts teetering on 216 for 8 and in danger of falling short.
Thereafter, the lower order took matters into their own hands, the last three batsmen between them amassing 48 runs in boundaries as Nottinghamshire reasserted their authority during the final 10 overs.
Inside knowledge garnered during two loan spells with Gloucestershire this summer no doubt assisted Chappell, who bit the hand that had so recently fed him by staging an exhilarating stand of 52 for the ninth wicket in 5.5 overs with Hutton, who then added a further 28 valuable runs with last man Paterson.
In need of solid foundations, Gloucestershire lost openers Dent and Ben Wells inside 11 overs, the latter falling for 28 to a wonderfully acrobatic catch by Montgomery at mid-wicket off the bowling of Paterson, leaving overseas hired hand Marcus Harris and Bracey to carry the fight to the visitors. These two added 56 in seven overs to keep the required rate below six, only for Harris to be bowled by a straight delivery from the ubiquitous Montgomery when just two runs shy of 50.
Montgomery’s off breaks yielded further dividends in his next over, Oli Price pushing uppishly to mid-wicket, his tame dismissal leaving the home side on 115 for 4 in the 20th over.
That was the cue for new batsman Taylor to inject a surge of positivity, Gloucestershire’s captain producing a flurry of boundaries to fundamentally shift the balance of power and ease the pressure on Bracey, who himself proved no slouch in raising a progressive 50 from 54 balls.
In authoritative mood, the no-nonsense Taylor required 24 deliveries fewer to attain the same landmark and the partnership entered three-figure territory in the 33rd over, at which point Gloucestershire needed to score a further 80 runs at less than five an over. Now under intense pressure, Nottinghamshire’s bowlers were powerless to part the fifth wicket pair, much to the delight of the home crowd.
Bracey won the race to reach 100, smashing Hutton back over his head for a huge six to spark a standing ovation. With the scores level and one run needed to win, Taylor attempted to hoist Singh high over mid-wicket in pursuit of the six that would have secured him a hundred of his own, only to hole out to Martindale.
His high-octane innings occupied 55 balls and included 10 fours and 5 sixes, while Bracey’s 93-ball sojourn was adorned by 9 fours and a brace of sixes, these two providing rich entertainment for those brave enough to endure the searing heat.