As affairs of State were swirling excitedly around Westminster, county cricket continued on its unhurried and predictable path with Gloucestershire finishing the first day of the Championship match against leaders Nottinghamshire on 256/7.
It was a hard fought day’s cricket on a pitch with little pace and bounce, which didn’t offer much help to either batters or bowlers. But the visitors will have more cause for satisfaction, as they pegged back the home batsmen all day with accurate bowling on a pitch where 350 looks like it may be a par score.
It was only an excellent first innings of the season, from Gloucestershire’s Gareth Roderick who finished unbeaten on 88 from 253 balls, that held the home effort together.
Among scudding showers, Gloucestershire batted first after an uncontested toss. Runs were hard to come by against some accurate Nottinghamshire seam bowling. Chris Dent and Cameron Bancroft took few risks, and looked largely untroubled, until Harry Gurney got one to move into Dent and trapped him lbw for 27.
It’s two years since Gurney made his last England international appearance. He has slipped considerably down the pecking order, but here today he bowled a commendably hostile spell from the Pavilion End when he replaced Luke Fletcher.
But it was the return of Fletcher that saw the end of Will Tavaré. With the last ball before lunch, the burly Trent Bridge stalwart trapped him lbw to leave Gloucestershire 67/2 from 31 overs.
After lunch, Bancroft’s patient innings came to an end when Brett Hutton had him caught behind by Chris Read for 37. Next ball, Graeme van Buuren chopped on to one that kept low. Phil Mustard edged the hat-trick ball past slips. 67/1 had become 81/4 and the visitors were in the ascendancy.
Gareth Roderick then joined Mustard in what was the best stand of the day. Roderick is making his first senior appearance of the season, his absence due to personal reasons. After a feast of second team runs he looked in good touch from the start and batted with the calm assurance he showed in the early part of his career. At tea he was 47 not out with Mustard on 37.
In the same way as Nottinghamshire struck after lunch to take two quick wickets, so they did after tea. Mustard edged Gurney to Read in the first over. Roderick reached his 150 ball half century but Jack Taylor didn’t last long, caught at cover off Luke Wood to leave Gloucestershire 167/6.
Kieran Noema-Barnett joined Roderick, and took the home side beyond the 200 mark before the new ball was taken. Just as the pair looked to be settled in for the night, the return of Gurney accounted for Noema-Barnett, bowled for an enterprising 35. Craig Miles and Roderick then saw out the home side fore the rest of the day.
The bowlers performed creditably all day, the wickets being shared between all four of Nottinghamshire’s front-line seamers: Gurney having the best analysis of 3/56.
Nottinghamshire’s Assistant head Coach Paul Franks said “we always thought it was going to be a good solid hard days work.
“We weren’t under the illusion that we were going to bowl them out quickly and get the game moving quickly. I thought we bowled well, we stuck to our task, adjusted our tactics and bowled accordingly.
“All of the bowlers will be happy with the work they put in, on what is a pretty slow and docile pitch on day one, so we come away happy with our work.”