Gidman forces Middlesex to take draw
Gloucestershire 358 and 347 drew with Middlesex 406 and 123 for 4
Middlesex's 100% record in County Championship Division Two came to an end at Bristol, where a career-best 93 from Will Gidman ensured a draw for Gloucestershire.
Middlesex looked the more likely victors when Gidman was joined in the middle by Liam Norwell with Gloucestershire on 263 for 8 and holding a lead of 215. But Gidman, who struck 10 fours and a six, and teenager Norwell (26) put on 75 for the ninth wicket and Gloucestershire were eventually bowled out for 347.
That left Middlesex requiring 300 in 50 overs to register a fourth successive win, but the visitors effectively gave up the chase after openers Chris Rogers and Scott Newman were both dismissed by Jon Lewis inside seven overs.
They had reached 123 for 4 with 20 overs remaining when umpires Mark Benson and Nick Cook took the players off for bad light, and no resumption was possible.
Earlier, after rain had delayed the start of play by 45 minutes, Middlesex took three wickets in the first 13 overs to raise their hopes of another victory. Chris Taylor, who had not added to his overnight 60, and Lewis were both caught behind by John Simpson off Corey Collymore, while David Payne also edged to Simpson, this time off Tim Murtagh.
Middlesex took the second new ball soon after, but needed 15 overs with it before the partnership between Gidman and Norwell was ended. Former Durham player Gidman advanced to a 135-ball half-century and then upped the tempo with some superb strokeplay, which included a six cut over backward square off Neil Dexter.
He surpassed his previous best for Gloucestershire of 89 and had a maiden hundred within sight when he miscued a drive of Toby Roland-Jones to Scott Newman at mid-off.
Hamish Marshall, who had retired hurt yesterday with a fractured right thumb, came out to bat and help Norwell prolong Gloucestershire's innings. Norwell managed to keep Marshall off strike, and pulled two boundaries through midwicket, before he was bowled having a big swing at a delivery from Collymore, who finished with 4 for 57.
Middlesex needed a major contribution from Rogers or Newman to have realistic hope of chasing down their target, but Lewis accounted for them both cheaply. Rogers had made 5 when he was caught low at first slip by Alex Gidman, and Newman was on 16 when he pulled to Kane Williamson on the backward square-leg boundary.
Dawid Malan hit six fours in his 39 before being bowled by Lewis, while Dan Housego made 45 before he was caught behind off Will Gidman. Another two overs were possible after Housego's dismissal before bad light ended play. Middlesex took 11 points from the game and third-placed Gloucestershire took 10.