One-Day Cup: Alastair Cook makes 127 as Essex beat Gloucestershire
|Royal London One-Day Cup, Cloudfm County Ground|
|Essex 315-8 (50 overs): Cook 127; Liddle 4-54|
|Gloucestershire 286-8 (50 overs): Mustard 90, Cockbain 79; Bopara 3-34|
|Essex (2 pts) beat Gloucestershire by 29 runs|
England opener Alastair Cook's century set up a 29-run win for Essex against Gloucestershire in the One-Day Cup.
The 32-year-old hit 12 boundaries in his 127 before driving Chris Liddle (4-54) to extra cover in the 44th over.
Nick Browne (42) and Varun Chopra (41) provided good support as Essex posted 315-8 under gloomy skies at Chelmsford.
Phil Mustard made 90 and Ian Cockbain struck 79 in the chase, but the visitors struggled to keep up with the run-rate and they finished on 286-8.
Cook, who can play in all of Essex's matches until England's first Test against South Africa in July, was given a life on 67 when he was dropped on the mid-wicket boundary by Jack Taylor off paceman Liam Norwell.
But the rest of the innings was chanceless, as England's all-time leading Test run-scorer brought up his three figures off 110 balls.
Just as Gloucestershire looked well set on 175-2 and ready to accelerate, Mustard fell swiping Matt Quinn to Cook at deep square-leg 10 short of an eighth List A hundred.
Cockbain, off the back of his match-winning century at Lord's on Sunday, continued to fight valiantly to bring the equation down to 60 runs off 30 balls, but then skied Ravi Bopara (3-34) to Cook ending any chance of victory.
Essex have now won their opening three matches in the competition, while Gloucestershire have lost two out of three.
Essex captain Ryan ten Doeschate:
"You want someone to stay there and the guys batted well around him. Cookie showed he has got some gears as well. He was nearly a run a ball at the end. As an opener his innings was near perfect.
"Rav (Bopara) is new at five and I know he desperately wants to go up the order. But that is what the team needs at the moment. He showed what a versatile player he is. He swung the momentum and got us up to 220 with 10 overs to go.
"Playing with two out-and-out seamers, his role is crucial. He is going to bowl 10 overs almost all the time and so far he has been brilliant. He is a very clever bowler and handy at picking up wickets."
Gloucestershire wicketkeeper Phil Mustard:
"Alastair Cook looked pretty good. He was properly switched on early doors and didn't give much away. Once he got into his stride he played some great shots. Hopefully it will be a good summer for him.
"I still thought we had a good chance, especially with a short boundary. I got myself out but Ian Cockbain played a great innings again and nearly got us home.
"It's a crucial game for us against Hampshire on Sunday. If we win there, and make it two wins out of four, that will still keep us in the mix for a top-three spot."