Anthony Ireland takes five as Middlesex struggle
Gloucestershire 81 for 2 v Middlesex 236
Anthony Ireland claimed five wickets as promotion-chasing Gloucestershire bowled out Middlesex for 236 on the opening day of the County Championship Division Two match in Bristol.
But 19-year-old Josh Davey ensured Middlesex gained one batting point with a fine 61 on his Championship debut. Davey received good support from fellow debutant Toby Roland-Jones, who contributed 19 to a ninth-wicket partnership of 53, which was broken when Roland-Jones miscued a pull to give Ireland his fifth wicket.
Ireland finished with 5 for 25 from 11 overs, while there was good support from Gloucestershire's four other seam bowlers. Gemaal Hussain took 2 for 70 and there were also two wickets for Jon Lewis. Gloucestershire reached the close on 81 for 2 with Chris Dent unbeaten on 13 and Hamish Marshall not out 21.
After Gloucestershire captain Alex Gidman won the toss, his decision to insert Middlesex looked like it might backfire as Sam Robson and Scott Newman put together an opening stand of 63. Robson was reprieved before a run had been scored when James Franklin dropped a difficult chance at gully off Lewis.
Steve Kirby had both batsmen playing and missing during an impressive spell from the Pavilion End, but Robson and Newman otherwise remained largely untroubled. The game changed dramatically in the 50 minutes before lunch, as Gloucestershire took five wickets for 34 runs in 11 overs.
Newman was the first to go when he edged Hussain to Gidman, who took an excellent low catch at first slip. Gidman took another sharp catch to dismiss Owais Shah off Lewis, and two wickets fell in the next over as Ireland had Robson lbw for 39 and Neil Dexter caught down the legside by wicketkeeper Jonathan Batty.
Gloucestershire had more to celebrate from the last ball before lunch when John Simpson edged Ireland to Hamish Marshall at second slip. Dawid Malan and Davey hinted at a Middlesex revival with a partnership of 37 for the sixth wicket, but Malan departed for 29 when he was caught at cover by Chris Taylor off Franklin.
Ireland claimed his fourth wicket when Tom Smith fended a delivery into the hands of Kadeer Ali at short leg, and it became 181 for 8 when Tim Murtagh snicked a drive off Hussain into the gloves of Batty. Davey and Roland-Jones responded well and Davey reached his half-century with a hook off Kirby for three runs. His maiden fifty came from 102 balls and contained eight fours.
The pair guided Middlesex to 224 for 8 at tea, but both were dismissed within three overs of the resumption. Roland-Jones top-edged a pull to Kirby and Davey then thick-edged a drive off Lewis to Franklin at gully.
Gloucestershire's reply got off to a good start as Ali and Batty took the score to 28 without loss off nine overs before light rain forced the players from the field. But when they returned Pedro Collins struck twice, bowling Ali with a ball which kept low and then trapping Batty lbw for 20.