Middlesex bowl out Gloucestershire on day one in Cheltenham
- Credit: PA
Miles Hammond’s 75 led Gloucestershire’s progress on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival but the home side collapsed after tea to be bowled out for 248 against Middlesex as the LV= Insurance Championship returned.
Hammond struck nine fours and two sixes in passing fifty for the third game running and helped his side into a strong position at 153 for two.
But a batting line up that didn’t offer much first-class pedigree tumbled away and Middlesex were left content having won the toss.
Gloucestershire were without captain Chris Dent, with a broken finger, and Ryan Higgins, whose partner gave birth on Monday morning.
There would have been great worry among supporters with their side inserted and coming off the back of 11 T20s. But mid-afternoon they were very well placed.
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Hammond filled in for James Bracey up the order in the previous two Championship matches with success and here again played well.
There was still a little T20 in his strokes. A ball of just back of a length was flat-batted through mid-off and a pull taken over midwicket from well outside off among his 137-ball fifty. He nicked a decent delivery from Ethan Bamber to first slip.
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But there was far too much T20 in Glenn Phillips’ dismissal as he whacked Blake Cullen to mid-off for 13. Forgivable in the shortest form, criminal in the longest.
Bracey earlier returned with a somewhat cathartic 38 after his torturous month with England and then no runs and missed chances in the Blast.
He played two straight drives off Daryl Mitchell - the New Zealander making his Middlesex debut - that suggested he is back in decent order but flicked at one sent across him by Cullen and edged behind in the fifth over after lunch.
Tom Lace also fell to a dart outside off. It was a total waste when well set on 31 and there was no change-of-format excuse for him.
When Jack Taylor shouldered arms to Mitchell and was lbw for five, Gloucestershire were 187 for six but Ollie Price, making his county debut, made a composed 31 with five fours to ensure a batting point before he squared up and bowled by Bamber with the second new ball.
Price was playing alongside his older brother Tom with another pair of siblings - Jack and Matt Taylor also in the XI.