After a first day in which the cricket was, for the most part, pedestrian, much of the second day did little more to raise the spirits of the hardy watchers, and hardy they needed to be in temperatures only improved slightly by the appearance in the middle of the day of a warming, and most welcome, sun.
Derbyshire resumed their first innings on 242-3 with Wayne Madsen on 58 and Neil Broom on 30. In the second over Broom edged to slip to give Liam Norwell his third wicket. Wes Durston came and went, bowled by a David Payne inswinger for 12 to make Derbyshire 258-5.
Payne took his second wicket when Shiv Thakor was caught at slip for 7 – three wickets falling for 24 in seven overs suggesting swing which wasn’t evident for much of yesterday.
Gloucestershire must have thought that this heralded a Derbyshire capitulation to a score below 300, but Madsen had other ideas. In this innings we saw the recently England-qualified batsman at his most obdurate in the early part and his most fluently attractive in the post-tea period yesterday.
Now he returned to obduracy, adding just 29 to his overnight score in the 30 overs before lunch. Wicket-keeper Tom Poynton settled in to keep him company, and the pair took the visitors to 319-6 at lunch.
Madsen duly reached the 20th century of his career scored from 276 balls with 14 fours. It demonstrated what a quality player he is, and why the England ambitions he nurses may not be unrealistic.
The seventh-wicket stand between Madsen and Poynton went past 100 as Derbyshire were gaining control. Poynton reached his half- century, scored from 127 balls with seven fours, with a slashing square drive from Jack Taylor.
Soon after he was out for 53, inside edging Norwell to Kieran Noema-Barnett at first slip. The 128 the pair assembled was the highest seventh-wicket stand for Derbyshire against Gloucestershire.
Luke Fletcher, on loan from Nottinghamshire, was caught on the mid-wicket boundary to become Taylor’s second victim, but the score had now passed 400 and while Derbyshire had exceeded the number of overs to qualify for maximum batting points, they must have felt they had gained a position where it seemed that could not lose the match.
Ben Cotton lofted Taylor to deep mid-off for 11 as Derbyshire chased runs with the innings nearing its end. Madsen reached 150 from 328 balls with 21 fours before he was deceived by Taylor and stumped with Derbyshire all out for 444.
For Gloucestershire, Norwell and Taylor shared eight wickets, with the latter’s return of 4-61 his best with the red ball. He provided welcome variety for skipper Roderick in an otherwise all medium- fast attack.
But the pick of the bowlers was Norwell, always Roderick’s go-to bowler who took 4/104 from his 35 overs. The 24-year-old Cornishman has developed into a highly effective county bowler. With Craig Miles injured he is an enormously valuable member of the team.
Gloucestershire would have been disappointed to have taken five sessions to bowl out the visitors, but the control the bowling unit exerted to restrict Derbyshire to well under three runs an over on a decent surface would have given coach Richard Dawson some encouragement.
Before the close Gloucestershire’s 110 for the loss of Australian Cameron Bancroft, bowled by Thakor for 41, was compiled from 3.43 runs per over with Chris Dent, unbeaten on 61, looking in particularly good form.
But if there is to be a result in this match the tempo of the cricket will need to be much faster tomorrow for either side to get into a position to force a win on the last day.