Batty and Gidman lift scrapping Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire 224 for 6 v Derbyshire
Will Gidman marked his Gloucestershire debut with a battling 89 as the new-look home side fought back hard on the opening day of the County Championship season at Bristol.
Reduced to 65 for 5 shortly after lunch, having won the toss, a team including five Championship debutants closed on 224 for 6. Jonathan Batty made an unbeaten 61 and shared a stand of 156 with Gidman, a Gloucestershire record for the sixth-wicket against Derbyshire. Tony Palladino (2 for 23) and Jon Clare (2 for 46) were the pick of the visiting attack on a day of glorious sunshine and cloudless skies.
Before the start Gloucestershire presented county caps to Gidman, brother of skipper Alex Gidman, Ian Cockbain, Richard Coughtrie, David Payne and Liam Norwell, all selected for their first Championship appearances.
Cockbain could make only five before a tentative push at Palladino saw him caught at second slip by Chesney Hughes with the score on 21. Two runs later Chris Dent was judged lbw as a ball from Tim Groenewald flicked his pad on the way through to the keeper.
It was 56 for three in the 26th over when Chris Taylor fended at a short ball from Smith and was caught behind for four. Alex Gidman followed for addition of only three more runs, lbw playing across a straight one from Palladino.
The lunch score was 61 for 4. Soon after the break Coughtrie was bowled by Clare trying to withdraw his bat, having faced 84 deliveries for his 17. Batty made only one half-century in 30 Championship innings as an opener last season, averaging just 16. But the former Surrey player was determined to put that campaign behind him and showed commendable application in a tough situation.
Will Gidman matched it and together they gradually put Gloucestershire back in the game. Former Durham player Gidman was first to his half-century, off 120 balls, with seven fours, and Batty's fifty soon followed, off 147 deliveries, with five boundaries.
Their century stand was brought up in 42 overs, without either giving a chance. Gloucestershire's previous best sixth-wicket partnership against Derbyshire was 114, achieved twice by Jack Russell, with Tim Hancock and Matt Windows as his partners.
The 58-over stand finally ended against the second new ball when Gidman attempted to glance Clare and was caught down the leg side by Luke Sutton. He had faced 176 balls and hit 12 fours. But Batty was still there at the close, having batted for more than four hours to justify the decision to drop him into the middle order.