Lamb's career-best 186 not out puts Derbyshire in control

Fourth-wicket stand of 227 with Brooke Guest helps visitors recover from 69 for 3 in Bristol

Matthew Lamb looks on, Vitality County Championship, Division Two, Derbyshire vs Leicestershire, Derby, April 19, 2024

Matthew Lamb scored a century  •  Getty Images

Derbyshire 434 for 5 (Lamb 186*, Guest 95, Donald 67) vs Gloucestershire
Matt Lamb's career-best 186 not out and 95 from Brooke Guest put Derbyshire in a strong position on the opening day of the Vitality County Championship Second Division match with Gloucestershire at Bristol.
The visitors ran up 434 for 5 after opting to bat first on an overcast morning, Lamb making his runs, off 228 balls, with 28 fours and a six, sharing a fourth-wicket stand of 227 in 52.4 overs with Guest to help their team recover from 69 for 3.
Aneurin Donald then contributed 67 to a century partnership with Lamb on a day when Derbyshire exploited some wayward bowling and a short boundary on all sides of the ground to plunder 59 fours and three sixes.
Overseas signing Beau Webster was the pick of a Gloucestershire attack not helped by several mistakes in the field, the Aussie returning 3 for 82 from 19 overs on his first appearance at the Seat Unique Stadium.
An entertaining first session saw Derbyshire play positively to reach 126 for 3 by lunch. With the total on 17, Luis Reece edged Matt Taylor low to first slip where Webster failed to get a hand under a difficult diving chance.
David Lloyd signalled his intention with sixes over midwicket off Taylor and Webster as he and Reece took the total past 50 in the tenth over.
But then Gloucestershire struck three blows in quick succession to temporarily derail the fast start.
Reece had made 27 when well caught low down at short cover by Ben Charlesworth off Webster. Nine runs later, with the total on 60, Lloyd fenced at a ball from the tall seamer and edged to Cameron Bancroft at second slip, departing for 28.
It was 69 for 3 when Marchant de Lange claimed the key wicket of Wayne Madsen, caught behind off a defensive nick for a duck. But Gloucestershire then squandered chances to press home their advantage.
Lamb and Guest were both dropped before lunch, Lamb on 13 by diving wicketkeeper James Bracey off de Lange and Guest on 27 by Webster at first slip off Ajeet Singh Dale. The pair profited to take the score to 126 for 3 at the interval.
Those errors came back to haunt Gloucestershire as Lamb and Guest batted through the afternoon session with few alarms. Lamb was first to fifty, off 71 balls, with 11 fours, and Guest followed to the same landmark, having faced 96 deliveries.
Guest was given another life on 74 as Miles Hammond failed to hold a sharp one-handed chance to his left at slip, with off-spinner Ollie Price the unlucky bowler. It was all the help either Derbyshire player needed to bring up a double century stand in 46.4 overs.
By then Lamb had registered an attractive hundred off 143 balls, having extended his boundary count to 18, a glorious cover driven four off leg-spinner Ed Middleton taking him to three figures. By tea, he had moved to 109, with Guest on 94 and Derbyshire 276 for 3.
The final session saw the partnership finally ended when Guest, just five short of a hundred, drove at a full ball from de Lange and edged to second slip where Bancroft made no mistake with a waist-high catch. He had faced 178 balls and hit 11 fours.
With the skies having cleared, Derbyshire were able to capitalise on the best batting conditions of the day. Lamb and Donald batted aggressively against the spin of Price and Middleton until Gloucestershire took the second new ball just after their opponents had claimed a third batting point at 352 for 4.
Lamb greeted it by cover driving Taylor for his 24th boundary to bring up his 150. Donald went to a run-a-ball half-century, with six fours, before skying a catch to mid-on to give Webster his third wicket and make the score 409 for 5.
A clip through the leg side for two off de Lange took Lamb past his previous best score of 173, made for Warwickshire against Essex at Edgbaston in 2019. It was the 27-year-old's day and he left the field with bat raised to warm applause from fielders and spectators.