Gloucestershire celebrated a successful Cheltenham Festival both on and off the field with a closely-fought two-wicket victory over Middlesex in the Vitality Blast on Thursday night, writes Richard Latham

Victory in front of a full house of 5,000 at the College Ground not only secured Gloucestershire their first win of the Blast but also put the exclamation mark on one of the most financially successful Cheltenham fixtures ever.

Two sell-out Blast crowds and an average attendances of around 2,000 at two Specsavers County Championship fixtures, which both lasted the full four days, have ensured a healthy boost to the club’s finances.

The only day affected by bad weather was the Blast match against Glamorgan last week, when there was sufficient play for Gloucestershire to retain a full return from ticket sales.

“While attendances for the opening Championship game with Leicestershire were slightly below expectations, overall it has been a fantastic Festival,” chief executive Will Brown said.

“Hospitality sold really well this year and there was some brilliant cricket. The way the Leicestershire game finished was unbelievable drama.”

Gloucestershire were due a change of luck with the weather after two of the three World Cup matches they staged at Bristol were abandoned without a ball bowled.

By contrast Thursday’s win over Middlesex was played in sweltering conditions as Cheltenham-born Miles Hammond delighted his home crowd with 63 from 35 balls to set up victory.

It followed Gloucestershire’s last-gasp wins over Leicestershire and Worcestershire at Cheltenham in the Championship, which elevated the county into the Division Two promotion places.

Left-arm seamer Matt Taylor suffered a side strain bowling late on day two of the Championship match against Worcestershire and faces the prospect of being sidelined for some time.

“We must wait for the injury to settle down before determining how serious it is,” head coach Richard Dawson said.

It is wretched luck for the younger of the Taylor brothers, who was in the side for the Glamorgan T20 game and has enjoyed a good season in the Championship, claiming 27 wickets.