BIG hitters Alex Gidman and Will Tavare both struck unbeaten centuries for Gloucestershire to secure a draw against Essex at Bristol.
The visitors had declared on their overnight score of 305-8, giving them a first-innings advantage of 171.
The home team initially looked likely to crumble under the pressure.
They lost Chris Dent and Michael Klinger to the accurate bowling of David Masters and Tymal Mills. This left the home team without its openers on 18-2.
But then the fightback started.
Class act — Essex’s David Masters. Picture: GAVIN ELLIS/TGS PHOTO
Gidman (who thrashed 119) and Tavare (100) batted in the afternoon.
Their third-wicket stand amassed 233 before the end of play came with the total on 251-2.
Gidman’s impressive tally came after he struck a six and 17 fours during his innings which lasted for 214-balls.
Tavare faced three more deliveries and collected 12 boundaries.
It was an impressive second century in three matches for the 24-year-old batsman who only joined Gloucestershire on a one-year deal in September, after impressing for the second team.
Essex lost both Graham Napier and David Masters to injury during the afternoon session.
Before the leg strain — Essex’s Graham Napier giving it his all at Bristol.
Picture: GAVIN ELLIS/TGS PHOTO
Napier has a leg muscle strain – either hamstring or calf – and Masters suffered a hand injury.
Gidman passed 10,000 first-class runs during his double century stand with Tavare.
But Essex must hold their hands up after their afternoon bowling lacked bite and failed to dent the duo’s run rampage. The match finished just before 5pm.