Smith ton gives Derbyshire hope
Gloucestershire 343 and 19 for 1 v Derbyshire 157 and 331
Greg Smith hit a brilliant 130 as Derbyshire battled valiantly to stay in the game on the third day at Bristol.
The 27-year-old South African produced a dazzling array of strokes to hit 21 fours in a 141-ball knock that threatened to turn the match after his side had been reduced to 161 for 5 in their second innings, still 25 runs behind.
Smith dominated a sixth-wicket stand of 128 with Luke Sutton (25), but both then fell in quick succession and Derbyshire were bowled out for 331, a lead of just 145, Chesney Hughes contributing 60. By the close Gloucestershire had reached 19 for one and need 127 more tomorrow for the win.
Left-arm seamer David Payne claimed 5 for 76 on his first class debut, while Will Gidman produced the most economical bowling with one for 29 from 16 overs.
Derbyshire began the day on 30 without loss, needing a further 156 to make Gloucestershire bat again. Only three runs had been added when Garry Park was caught behind fending at a lifting delivery from Jon Lewis.
It was 54 for 2 when Wayne Madsen fell lbw for 34 to a delivery from Liam Norwell that nipped back and 86 for three when Wes Durston fenced at a delivery from the accurate Gidman and wicketkeeper Jonathan Batty took the catch.
By lunch the visitors had progressed to 113 for 3, with Hughes unbeaten on 43. Five runs were added before Dan Redfern played down the wrong line to Payne and departed lbw for 8.
The powerful Hughes reached a half-century soon after the interval with a flowing drive off Payne, his 11th boundary in facing 65 balls. But Payne soon took revenge by having Hughes caught behind off a good length ball with the total on 161.
By then Smith was already counter-attacking with gusto, producing some superb cover drives. Sutton was happy to just hold up the other end, taking 45 minutes to get off the mark and contributing only two to the first 50 runs of the partnership.
Smith had one giant slice of good fortune when dropped by Chris Dent at second slip off Norwell on 99 in the over before tea. He forced the next delivery through the off-side for two to bring up his ton off 104 balls.
Tea was reached with the total at 251 for 5. Smith and Sutton stayed together until the fifth over with the second new ball, which saw Lewis knock back Smith's off-stump. The stand was a Derbyshire record for the sixth wicket against Gloucestershire.
Sutton fell four balls later as Dent redeemed himself with a diving slip catch off Ian Saxelby and Payne quickly polished off the tail.