Captain Gidman rescues Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire 235 for 6 v Leicestershire
Captain Alex Gidman came to Gloucestershire's rescue on the opening day of the County Championship match with Leicestershire at Bristol. Leadership was needed when the hosts slumped to 82 for 5 after losing the toss. Gidman provided it with an innings of 81, sharing a stand of 121 with Ian Cockbain who reached 46 not out, as his side reached 235 for 6.
Matthew Hoggard was the pick of the Leicestershire bowlers with two for 30 from 22 overs, while Nathan Buck claimed 3 for 61 from 16. Fourteen overs were lost to rain in the afternoon and in the end both sides could feel satisfied with their efforts.
Hoggard and Buck exploited excellent seam bowling conditions after the 10.30am start and Hoggard made the first breakthrough with the total on 23 as Chris Dent edged a catch to third slip. Buck then removed Kane Williamson and Chris Taylor in quick succession before having the obdurate Richard Coughtrie caught behind for 30 to make it 72 for 4.
Lunch was taken with three runs added, at which point Buck had three for 30 from nine overs. When Hamish Marshall failed to move his feet to a delivery from Hoggard and departed lbw for three Gloucestershire were in deep trouble and could see their last flickering hopes of promotion slipping away.
But Gidman was in a defiant mood and found an equally determined partner in Cockbain. The skipper moved solidly to a half-century in 83 balls, with seven fours. Cockbain collected five boundaries as the century partnership was brought up in 22 overs.
Gidman played and missed occasionally on the drive and Cockbain was caught off a Buck no-ball, but both batsmen also produced some attractive shots to take the score to 200 and earn a first batting bonus point. Rain then forced the players off at 2.55pm and an early tea was taken.
Play resumed at 4.40pm, with 14 overs lost, and with just three runs added Gidman appeared to be beaten in the flight by off-spinner Jigar Naik and gave wicketkeeper Ned Eckersley his third catch. Gidman had faced 114 balls and hit 12 fours. He was replaced by brother Will, who is in sight of the double of 1,000 runs and 50 wickets in his first season with Gloucestershire.
He and Cockbain were extremely watchful under heavy grey skies as they painstakingly built an unbroken stand of 32 by stumps. Cockbain was four short of his half-century, having been in for just over three hours.