LIAM Norwell goes into Gloucestershire’s Specsavers County Championship match with Kent at Bristol today looking to become the leading wicket-taker in this season’s competition.

The 25-year-old pace bowler’s match figures of 10 for 95 in last week’s victory over Leicestershire took his tally for the season to 56.

Only Worcestershire seamer Joe Leach, with 58, has claimed more victims in the Second Division of the Championship, while the list of First Division wicket-takers is headed by Essex paceman Jamie Porter on 57.

Just two other bowlers have claimed more than 50 scalps in the competition, Sussex all-rounder Jofra Archer with 56 and Essex off-spinner Simon Harmer, who is on 57.

Norwell’s best tally so far is 61 in 2015. With three games left, he looks certain to better that figure, despite missing both games against Nottinghamshire this season through injury.

None of the leading Championship wicket-takers is in better form. Norwell’s eight for 43 in the second innings against Leicestershire was a career-best performance.

It saw him climb to 12th place in the Professional Cricketers’ Association Most Valuable Player Rankings for the Championship with 217 points, only nine behind tenth place, currently occupied by Surrey’s former Sri Lanka batsman Kumar Sangakkara.

The PCA MVP Rankings system identifies the match-winners and key influencers of matches throughout the domestic season.

Gloucestershire head coach Richard Dawson believes Norwell deserves all the accolades coming his way.

He said: “Liam hasn’t just got the tail-enders out. A lot of his wickets have been top-order batsmen.

“He keeps things simple and maintains a probing line and length, offering very few loose deliveries.”

Dawson has named an unchanged squad for the Kent game and is looking to his team to build on the improvement shown at Grace Road.

“We still didn’t have a batsman making a really big score,” he said. “That is something we have to work on, but so many other aspects of the performance were encouraging.

“The three players who came in all stood up and did something towards the result. Josh Shaw and Matt Taylor bowled well and got among the wickets in the first innings and then James Bracey made a half-century.”

Dawson had particular words of praise for Bracey, a product of Winterbourne Cricket Club who was making only his second Championship appearance.

“James built his innings in a disciplined way in conditions offer swing and seam movement,” he said.

The Kent match will be Gloucestershire’s first in the Championship at the Brightside Ground since June and their penultimate home game of the season.

Dawson added: “We played some good cricket at Bristol earlier this season and want to continue that this week.”