RICHARD DAWSON admits that Gloucestershire underperformed in one-day cricket this summer and believes further investment in the team is essential to hopes of success next season, writes Richard Latham.

The head coach has already recruited all-rounder Ryan Higgins from Middlesex on a three-year contract and views the 22-year-old as an exciting prospect.

But Dawson knows that, with Michael Klinger playing only T20 cricket for Gloucestershire next season, finding another overseas signing to bolster the squad is likely to be crucial.

He said: “We underperformed across both one-day formats this season and found the NatWest T20 Blast, in particular, to have risen in standard.

“It is getting harder by the year to compete with counties who spend a lot of money. That also applies in the County Championship Second Division, which now involves 10 teams.

“The two coming down from the First Division will make it even tougher next season. We were harder to beat in four-day cricket this year and improved our home record, but we come up against a lot of big clubs.

“I will know my budget for next year soon. Ideally, I would like to bring in a quality overseas signing, but that depends on the international calendar, as well as what money is available.

“It is very difficult to find players who can commit to long spells in county cricket these days, so I need to give it a lot of thought.”

Two of the positives for Gloucestershire this summer were the emergence of young wicketkeeper-batsman James Bracey in the closing games and the consistency of seamer Liam Norwell, who claimed 59 Championship wickets, despite missing three matches.

The team were unbeaten at home in four-day cricket until the final fixture against Derbyshire when they set up a contrived finish and lost in a run-chase.

“We played some good cricket in the Championship and improving our home form was a target we set at the start of the season,” said Dawson.

But no batsman reached 1,000 first class runs and Gloucestershire also found decent totals hard to come by in their one-day campaigns.

Dawson is hoping the hard-hitting Higgins, who smashed 68 off just 28 balls for Middlesex against Gloucestershire in the tied T20 game at Cheltenham in July, will help his team exert more scoreboard pressure in 2018.

He said: “Ryan has come to us from a big county desperate to play in all formats.

“I worked with him in his England Under-19 days and know he is a proper competitor, who has not yet reached the ceiling of his ability.”