Fuller joins Cheltenham hat-trick club
Gloucestershire 83 for 0 (Dent 56*) trail Worcestershire 182 (Leach 82*, Fuller 5-43) by 99 runs
James Fuller became only the fourth Gloucestershire player to take a hat-trick at Cheltenham as Worcestershire were bowled out for 182 on the opening day.
Having won the toss, the visitors crashed to 22 for 6, Fuller removing Matthew Pardoe with the final ball of the eighth over and then striking with the first and second deliveries of the 10th, sending back Moeen Ali and Alexei Kervezee.
Joe Leach came to Worcestershire's rescue with a career-best 82 not out, sharing a seventh-wicket stand of 120 with Gareth Andrew, who made 54. Fuller finished with 5 for 43 from 19 overs.
By the close, the home side had made a confident start to their reply and were 83 without loss, Chris Dent unbeaten on 56 and Michael Klinger 27 not out.
The first Gloucestershire player to take a hat-trick at the College Ground, where the club have been playing fixtures since 1872, was Charles Townsend back in 1893. The feat was repeated by Mike Procter in 1979 and James Franklin in 2009. Fuller joined the group after having Pardoe and Kervezee caught behind, with the wicket of Moeen, who played on trying to withdraw the bat, sandwiched in between.
In the over that divided Fuller's three wickets, Will Gidman had Daryl Mitchell taken by wicketkeeper Gareth Roderick and from 18 without loss Worcestershire nosedived to 18 for 4. Worse was to follow in Craig Miles' first over as he had both Thilan Sameraweera and Ben Cox caught at second slip by Dent off successive balls.
It was left to Andrew and Leach to steady a sinking ship with determination and application, but both needed lives early on.
They took the total to 63 for 6 at lunch. In the afternoon session Andrew was first to his half-century off 91 balls, with 10 fours. Leach soon followed, his fifty occupying 109 deliveries and also featuring 10 boundaries.
For a while Gloucestershire bowled without much luck. Then skipper Klinger pulled off a stunning catch above his head at short cover off Benny Howell to dismiss Andrew. Shaaiq Choudhry soon followed, caught behind to give Fuller his fourth wicket, and at tea Worcestershire were 154 for 8.
The final session saw Graeme Cessford dismissed for a duck on his Championship debut by Tom Smith before Fuller wrapped up the innings, having Alan Richardson caught in the slips.
The pitch has seamed around early in the day and the ball also swung, but conditions looked very different when the hosts replied. Klinger and Dent, who reached fifty off 50 balls, with nine fours and a six, produced positive shots from the outset and looked in little trouble.