Cheltenham becomes a festival for the Taylors

The 2011 Cheltenham Festival is set to be remembered as the year of the Taylors, with no fewer than three players of that name making a mark for Gloucestershire.

Experienced batsman Chris Taylor set the tone by equalling his career-best score of 196 in the County Championship win over Kent at the College Ground.

Nineteen-year-old off-spinner Jack Taylor, who had already advertised his promise with a man-of-the-match display against Somerset in a Twenty20 game at Bristol, then took 3 for 50 to be Gloucestershire’s most successful bowler in the opening Clydesdale Bank 40 game of the Festival against Notts.

And that match also featured a debut for Jack’s 17-year-old brother Matthew Taylor, who recovered from a nervy start to finish with 2 for 43 from seven overs of left-arm seam.

Proud parents Kevin and Angeline were among a crowd of nearly 4,000 at Cheltenham to watch their two sons in action together for the first time in a county first team fixture.

The inclusion of Matthew, who only turned 17 earlier this month, was a major surprise, but the youngster, who has just finished in year 12 at Chipping Norton School, coped well with the occasion.

Matthew, who has been playing in Gloucestershire’s second team and for Oxfordshire this summer, said: “I knew I was in the squad a couple of days before the game, but it was only about half-an-hour to 40 minutes before the start that I knew I would be playing. It all went pretty fast, but it was a great experience. I stuck to what I knew I could do and it went well.”

Matthew did well enough to keep his place for the following CB40 fixture at the Festival against Essex and earned praise from skipper Alex Gidman, who said: “I have been impressed watching him in the nets.

“For a lad of only just 17 he seems to have very good one-day skills and it is always handy to have a left-arm bowler capable of swinging the ball.”

Asked about any sibling rivalry, Jack said: “There was always a little bit in the back garden and stuff like that. But in the Notts game I was just trying to help Matthew along and give him as much advice as I could, having not had that much experience myself. I thought he did really well.”

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