An unbeaten 98 by Jack Taylor who has shared a stubborn stand of 143 with teenager Ben Charlesworth (65*) has taken Gloucestershire to 284/6 when rain brought an early finish to a rain-affected second day of their Specsavers County Championship match with Glamorgan at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff with the visitors leading by 147 runs.
Having unfurled a series of coruscating drives before tea Jack Taylor was looking to build on Gloucestershire lead of 84 as well as making Glamorgan rue the dropped catch at point in the final over before the interval by Ben Charlesworth against Michael Hogan. The youngster had responded by clipping his next ball to the ropes at mid-wicket and he began in assertive vein after tea with a firm cover drive for four against Timm van der Gugten.
But just as the ball reached the boundary boards, it started to rain and the players left the field with three overs having been bowled in the session. It was only a brief stoppage, causing the loss of fiver further overs, and Jack Taylor showed his positive intent by striking the first ball from Hogan through point for another rasping four.
Charlesworth then cover drove van der Gugten for four as the pair completed a century stand for the seventh wicket, before a second batting point was accrued as Charlesworth cover drove the Dutchman and also complete a 104-ball fifty. He then swatted Hogan through mid-on for four before Taylor elegantly cover drove the home captain, followed by a nurdle for four. He then glanced Wagg for four before Charlesworth crisply straight drove Bull for four.
But by now the light was very murky and after another over from Bull, the players left the field with the pair three short of surpassing Gloucestershire’s previous best seventh wicket stand against Glamorgan made in 1923 by Alf Dipper and Albert Waters who added 145 at the Victoria ground in Cheltenham.
Play began at 1.25pm with 68 overs remaining and Gloucestershire on 133/5, Jack Taylor was swiftly in the runs as he on-drove Michael Hogan for four whilst Ryan Higgins began with a brace of singles. But with the total on 141 Higgins shouldered arms to Hogan only for the ball to cannon off his bat and into leg stump.
Ben Charlesworth, the Oxford schoolboy whose father played for Glamorgan 2nd XI, then joined Taylor and played some studious forward defensive strokes to both Hogan and Timm van der Gugten before the left-hander opened his account by edging the Dutchman through the slip cordon.
Hogan continued to extract extravagant lateral movement before Charlesworth played a more intentional blow to the boundary as he steered van der Gugten through point. With Ruaidhri Smith hors de combat, it was David Lloyd who joined Graham Wagg - after a warm-up routine of which a Cossack dancer who have been proud -as change bowlers. Charlesworth again flayed Wagg through point before unfurling a classical cover drive for four against Lloyd, followed just for good measure by a flick to fine-leg for another boundary.
Taylor also cover drove Lloyd before thick-edging Wagg through the slips for four as a batting bonus point appeared on the visitors radar. Taylor’s fifty also came closer as he glanced Lloyd to long-leg. With the new ball also on the horizon, Kieran Bull then had a brief spell at the River End whilst Wagg switched to left-arm spin as Gloucestershire reached the 200-mark in the 79th over.
Van der Gugten then returned immediately the new ball was available with Taylor completing his fifty form 127 balls by sending the first delivery like a tracer bullet through mid-off. He then ferociously square-cut van der Gugten
Any lumberjacks visiting county cricket yesterday would have felt quite at home given the amount of timber hitting the ground across the country. In all, 116 wickets tumbled on the opening day of the nine Championship matches with 15 falling at Cardiff where the trend for uncontested tosses continued as Gloucestershire opted to bowl first. To the delight of the visitors there was plenty of swing during the opening session as Glamorgan slipped to 21/5. Thanks to another pugnacious fifty by Chris Cooke, the combative efforts with bat and ball of Graham Wagg, plus the frugality of Michael Hogan and Timm van der Gugten with the ball, the net result was that the visitors ended the opening day on 133/5, four runs in arrears with five wickets remaining.
The home bowlers were looking forward to further incisions into the Gloucestershire line-up this morning, but steady rain overnight and into this morning meant that the umpires, Neil Bainton and Ian Blackwell, delayed the start of play, scheduled for 10.30am. With the precipitation still falling an hour later, the umpires decided to take an early lunch at 12noon and to make a further inspection at 12.30pm. With the rain having ceased it was decided that play would start at 1.25pm with 68 overs remaining in the day's quota.