A record last wicket partnership against Kent – put together through Cameron Bancroft completing an unbeaten double hundred and Matt Taylor making a career best score – saw Gloucestershire bat deep into the second day of the Championship match at the Brightside Ground.
After morning rain delayed a start until 1.30, Kent took four wickets in 45 minutes only to be foiled for 35 overs by the tenth wicket pair, who secured a third batting point before taking time out of the game Kent desperately needed to spend at the crease rather than in the field.
The stand was worth 111 when Taylor mistimed a push at Mitchell Claydon and was caught at short cover for 36, beating his 32 at Chelmsford against Essex in 2014, but Bancroft carried his bat for an unbeaten 206, made in eight and half hours with 23 fours and one six.
Facing a Gloucestershire total of 385, Kent had 20 overs to bat until stumps, and negotiated 15 of them before Josh Shaw struck twice, removing Sean Dickson for 20 and night watchman Adam Milne without scoring. They closed at 60-2, still 325 in arrears.
Listen to Cameron Bancroft and Matt Taylor’s reflections on their stand here:
A handful of showers during the morning meant the day’s play was confined to a little over two sessions, and with a nearly new ball at their disposal Kent’s opening pair of Adam Milne and Darren Stevens went looking for quick wickets to move the game forward
All went to plan initially from the visitors point of view, as Stevens trapped Jack Taylor lbw for 17 and shortly afterwards knocked out Kieran Noema-Barnett’s off stump.
Milne’s double strike in the day’s tenth over – as Josh Shaw steered him to point and Norwell was caught in the slip cordon by Bell Drummond – seemed to indicate Gloucestershire would fall short of a third batting point. Matt Taylor walked to the crease with Bancroft 137* and the pair were to put together a stoic and sensible stand on a docile pitch.
DOUBLE CENTURY! Magnificent from @cbancroft4
He hits from 390 deliveries.
— Gloucestershire CCC (@Gloscricket) September 13, 2017
The first target, with overs for bonus points still available, was to try and push Gloucestershire past 300, and they wouldn’t have made it if Sean Dickson had held an edge by Taylor into the slips off Matt Coles. It was to be an expensive miss.
Bancroft’s initial stance was to try and protect Taylor, which he did without undue alarm until a steer to third man saw him reach his own 150, made from 313 balls with 15 fours and a six. Kent then went on the defensive, offering him singles to expose Taylor to the strike, but as time went by and Taylor’s confidence grew the pair worked as a genuine partnership.
Runs largely ticked up in a functional rather than flamboyant way although Bancroft did play one particularly classy cover drive off Calum Haggett. Tea was delayed with the last pair together and by the time it was eventually taken Taylor and Bancroft had batted for nearly two hours and added 81 important runs, breaking the previous highest tenth wicket stand for Gloucestershire against Kent in the process.
The sub plots by this point were becoming personal milestones. Bancroft resumed on 187, and Taylor (27*) was only five runs short of his own highest score. Both had batted responsibly for themselves, their partner and the team so it was fitting that both achieved something tangible from the day.
A steer to third man gave Taylor his best first class score, and after a no ball brought up the hundred partnership, Bancroft punched a drive through cover off Claydon to reach his double hundred, made from 390 balls with 23 fours and one six.
Claydon finally brought closure by removing Taylor for 36, leaving Bancroft 206 not out and Gloucestershire in a position to pressurise Kent in the final phase of the day.
Taylor, no doubt energised by his innings, certainly troubled Daniel Bell-Drummond in his opening spell. Two lbw appeals were turned down and one edge fell between Dent and Hankins in the slips. Liam Norwell also had a big appeal for a catch at the wicket against Bell-Drummond rejected but at the other end Josh Shaw capped a decent day by having Sean Dickson caught behind by Roderick for 20, and also sent back night watchman Milne thanks to a catch by Bancroft at slip. Kent closed at 60-2, and on the back foot with two days remaining.