Gloucestershire 202 for 5 (Bracey 65) trail Derbyshire 291 (Lace 83) by 89 runs
James Bracey hit a stylish 65 to lead a solid Gloucestershire reply to Derbyshire's first-innings total of 291 on the second day of the Specsavers County Championship match at Bristol.
In reply, the hosts had reached 202 for 5, skipper Chris Dent contributing 33, the same unbeaten scores that both Gareth Roderick and Ryan Higgins had made by the close. Luis Reece claimed 2 for 33 from 16 overs.
Left-hander Bracey faced 120 balls, hitting 12 fours, before falling to a stunning catch at point by Anuj Dal off Tony Palladino. The 21-year-old Bristol-born batsman looks set to build on an impressive first full season of county cricket last year.
Earlier, Derbyshire had added 35 to their overnight total of 256 for 7 before being dismissed nine short of a third batting point. Higgins and Matt Taylor finished with three wickets each.
On another bright, but cold day, the visitors had advanced their score by only two runs when Higgins sent back Dal, lbw for 3.
Logan van Beek had his middle stump sent cartwheeling by Taylor shouldering arms, but Palladino and Ravi Rampaul added a valuable 25 for the last wicket before the latter edged Howell to second slip.
Gloucestershire had around an hour to bat before lunch and reached 26 for one by the interval, Miles Hammond having been caught at second slip for 6 off left-armer Reece.
As on the opening day, a slow pitch made it difficult to score quickly. Dent and Bracey were watchful in adding 84 from 27 overs, but Bracey also produced some sparkling off-side strokes to reach fifty off 57 balls, with 10 fours.
Dent had faced 115 balls and look settled when getting an inside-edge onto his stumps off a delivery from Alex Hughes that appeared to keep a bit low.
Derbyshire quickly picked up another wicket, George Hankins carelessly clipping a catch to mid-wicket off Reece and departing for a duck with the total 97 for 3.
It was 110 for 3 at tea. The final session saw Bracey fall unexpectedly, tempted by a wide ball from Palladino and staring in horror as a flashing shot off the meat of the bat was plucked out of the air by Dal moving to his left.
From 111 for 4, Roderick and Howell build steadily in a fifth-wicket stand of 46. Howell appeared in good touch, striking five fours, before being comfortably caught at cover by Matt Critchley off van Beek from a shot he will want to forget.
At 157 for 5, Gloucestershire were still 134 behind and needed another significant partnership. They got it through the patient Roderick and more aggressive Higgins, who had added 45 by the time bad light ended proceedings three overs early.