Titans all-rounder Graeme van Buuren made another huge statement of his worth with a rugged hundred for Gloucestershire in just his third senior match for the county.
He ended the day on 104, still providing the anchor, as Glos closed day two on 226-5, still 213 runs behind Worcestershire.
It’s incredible to think that in March this year, the 25-year-old was playing for Northerns against Northern Cape in a rather dreary Sunfoil three-day match in Kimberley. On Monday, Gloucestershire were congratulating themselves on a plucking him from obscurity on a two-year contract.
In just three first-team matches, Van Buuren has announced himself in some style. It was his left-arm spin which cracked the Glamorgan top order and turned the game when all seemed lost, taking three wickets in 22 balls, including the wicket of his old compatriot Jacques Rudolph, in mid-May in his first appearance.
Van Buuren, a former SA Under-19 star, qualifies as a non-overseas player through his wife Hannah, a British passport holder.
‘I qualify to play as a local now. My wife is British. That’s the route I can qualify to play for the county team. Hopefully if I have a good season I can maybe push to play for England,’ he delightedly told British media on his appointment.
After three successful seasons in Netherlands, he spent last year helping Burnley to the Lancashire League title before impressing the Gloucestershire coaching staff during a trial match.
Gloucestershire needed a positive response after Worcs piled up 439, thanks to their tail. The last three wickets put on 234 runs, with No 10 Jack Shantry slamming 106 off 106 balls.
Van Buuren stood out even then, for his 17 overs cost only 35 runs, an economy rate of 2.05.
Earlier, the former KwaZulu-Natal keeper Gareth Roderick, trusted with the captaincy at 24, and Van Buuren put on 120 for the second wicket. He had scored 60 off 152 balls to steady the ship.
Another Natal lad, Matt Pillans, helped Surrey out of a hole in their first innings. Batting at 10, he added a valuable unbeaten 34 as Surrey struggled to 264. They got themselves into a dogfight after bowling Somerset out for 102, and then collapsing themselves to 138 in their second innings. Somerset needed 301 to win, and they got there with one wicket to spare.
Elsewhere, Riki Wessels hit top form with an excellent, unbeaten 159, with 20 fours, as Nottinghamshire piled up 524. Former Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor weighed in with 114. Durham responded well with 447. Notts ended the day on 104-1, a lead of 191, but with just one day to go, a draw looks to be the end result.
Compiled by Mark Salter