Ollie Price and James Bracey centuries save game as Gloucestershire draw with Yorkshire

15 April 2024

Ollie Price’s career-best 147 and a century from James Bracey helped Gloucestershire to an unlikely draw on the final day of the Vitality County Championship match with Yorkshire at the Seat Unique Stadium, Bristol.

The pair shared a fifth-wicket stand of 199, Bracey making 102 as they batted from the start to the brink of tea, rescuing their side from a perilous overnight position of 97 for four, chasing 498 to win.

Price’s fourth first class ton and Bracey’s tenth frustrated the Yorkshire attack on a placid pitch, allowing Gloucestershire to close on 405 for six They took 12 points from the game, while Yorkshire claimed 13, having dominated for long periods.

The start of play was delayed by half an hour due to heavy overnight rain, with eight overs lost. When the players took the field at 11.30pm, the sun was shining, but a biting wind was whipping across the ground.

Gloucestershire faced the daunting prospect of being 400 runs in arrears and the only realistic target was to bat through the day for a draw.

Price and Bracey played with a commendable restraint, ready to punish the occasional bad ball, while displaying immaculate defence in battling to save the game.

Unbeaten on 44 overnight, Price moved to a 104-ball fifty, with 7 fours, while Bracey showed the high degree of patience, which marked his early days as a Gloucestershire player.

Yorkshire skipper Shan Masood shuffled his bowlers, but not for the first time a final day pitch at Bristol proved too benign to offer much assistance.

Price had one moment of alarm on 54 when edging a turning delivery from Dan Moriarty, only for the ball to ricochet off the gloves of wicketkeeper Jonny Tattersall and out of reach of first slip.

By lunch, the Gloucestershire’s pair had taken the score to 166 for four, with Price unbeaten on 75 and Bracey 38 not out.

Masood had tried some imaginative field settings and when left-arm spinner Moriarty bowled to Bracey from the Ashley Down Road end after lunch, he had five players in catching positions on the leg side.

It didn’t stop Bracey going to his half-century off 99 deliveries, with 8 fours. Price began to go on the attack, hitting three successive fours off short balls from Matt Fisher and taking another boundary off the first ball of his next over.

That brought up the century stand. Price stepped back to hammer Moriarty for a boundary through the off-side, which brought up an exemplary hundred off 175 balls. It was his 16th four.

Bracey was also blossoming under darkening skies, producing one of the shots of the day when driving Matt Milnes through extra cover for four. It was the last meaningful action before rain, which had been forecast, brought a brief interruption at 224 for four.

Only two overs were lost before normal service was resumed, Price and Bracey continuing to play with ease. Price was occasionally guilty of playing and missing forcing shots off the back foot against the spinners, but in general maintained his composure admirably.

A two off Moriarty took Price past his previous highest first class score of 132, made against Derbyshire at Bristol last September. Yorkshire’s last hope was the second new ball, taken at 293 for four.

The second delivery with it saw Price push forward and edge a catch behind off Ben Coad. Tea was immediately taken and the visitors could approach the final session with renewed heart.

It saw Bracey go to three figures off 198 balls with 14 fours in a welcome return to the form which earned him an England Test call-up in 2021.

The relief was evident in his celebration, but the very next ball saw him edge Coad through to the diving Tattersall and at 314 for six Gloucestershire still had work to do. There were still a minimum of 24 overs remaining.

But skipper Graeme van Buuren (51 not out) and Ben Charlesworth 43 not out) batted confidently to secure the draw, the players shaking hands at just before 6pm with Yorkshire perhaps pondering whether they should have declared earlier on day three.



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