Marshall, Noema-Barnett provide solid platform
Gloucestershire 336 for 5 (Marshall 123, Noema-Barnett 84, Dent 59) v Worcestershire
Hamish Marshall's 27th first-class hundred underpinned a Gloucestershire revival as they posted 336 for 5 on the opening day of their County Championship match with Worcestershire. Marshall went in with his side struggling on 57 for 3 and batted for the rest of the day for an unbeaten 123, having hit 15 fours in his 196-ball innings.
Alongside fellow Kiwi Kieran Noema-Barnett, whose aggressive strokeplay brought him a Championship-best score of 84 not out, Marshall helped put on an unbroken sixth-wicket stand of 179 in 42 overs. He also received good support from opener Chris Dent, continuing his run of rich form.
There were two wickets for Ed Barnard, but after early inroads Worcestershire were unable to capitalise on their decision to bowl first without a toss.
An inspirational moment of fielding brilliance from Matt Henry gave the visitors the breakthrough following an opening stand of 37 between Dent and Cameron Bancroft. The latter was on 15 when he played a ball from Joe Leach to wide mid-on and called for a quick single. With only one stump to aim at, Henry clipped the bails at the bowler's end with the diving Bancroft just short of his ground.
Ian Cockbain was then lbw to Barnard pushing forward for 5 with the total on 56 and one run later Gareth Roderick was well held by the diving Ross Whiteley at third slip off Jack Shantry.
Dent batted comfortably through the morning session, with just one major scare on 40 when edging Henry just short of first slip. The left-hander was unbeaten on 41 at lunch with Gloucestershire 89 for 3 off 32 overs. But that became 133 for 4 when Dent drove at Barnard and edged to Tom Kohler-Cadmore at first slip.
George Hankins, making his Championship debut for Gloucestershire, got off the mark with a five as he pushed into the leg side for a quick single and saw Moeen Ali's throw miss the stumps at the bowler's end with no one backing up. The promising 19-year-old played some attractive shots in moving to 18. But, having seen Moeen spill a sharp chance at short-leg off Henry, the youngster edged the next delivery to give Whiteley a second slip catch.
Worcestershire appeared to be taking a grip but control was wrestled from them by the experienced Marshall, who looked in good touch from the start and moved confidently to three figures off 172 balls, with 11 fours, never offering a chance.
He found a powerful ally in Noema-Barnett, who hit nine fours and a six over square-leg off Moeen in moving to only his third half-century since joining Gloucestershire for the start of last season and had struck six more fours by stumps.