ESSEX made a strong start to their LV= County Championship Division Two game against Gloucestershire but the visitors were frustrated as the match was interrupted by bad weather for the second day running.
David Masters led the Essex charge, taking four wickets for 39 runs as Gloucestershire were reduced to 104 for six before play was prematurely stopped for bad light and rain after 31.1 overs.
Winning the toss and choosing to field, Essex looked to make up for lost time after the elements had ensured not a single ball had been bowled on day one at the County Ground.
Gloucestershire made a disastrous start as they fell to nought for two after just three overs with both Michael Klinger and William Tavare removed for ducks by Masters.
Klinger, who has now scored just three runs in his last three innings, was the first to go as he was clean bowled and, three balls later, Tavare joined him when he played straight into the hands of Ben Foakes.
Opener Chris Dent dug in and together with Alex Gidman, Gloucestershire looked like they might begin to build a platform.
In the seventh over, however, Gidman (13) fell to the bowling of Graham Napier, nicking the ball behind for keeper James Foster to catch, leaving the hosts in trouble at 23 for three.
Gloucestershire's morning went from bad to worse soon after as Napier took his ninth wicket of the Championship season when he bowled Hamish Marshall for four.
Will Gidman (21) managed eight better than his brother but was unable to turn an encouraging start into a big score as Masters induced the edge and Alastair Cook held on at first slip.
However, Dent, fresh from a half-century at Glamorgan, kept the Gloucestershire score respectable as he hit eight fours on his way to 47.
Just as the opener looked to clinch his half-century, play was stopped for bad light before heavy rain extended the delay.
The action temporarily resumed later and it took just eight balls for Essex to add another scalp to their tally as Cameron Herring (10) edged Masters' delivery into the gloves of Foster.
Ian Saxelby joined Dent at the crease but in the 32nd over the umpires again sent the players back into the pavilion for bad light before more rain saw the day's play brought to an early close.