Impressive final day rearguard centuries from Ollie Price and James Bracey were the significant contributions as Yorkshire were forced to settle for a Vitality County Championship draw against Gloucestershire at Bristol’s Seat Unique Stadium.

Conditions were in their favour, no doubt, but to bat the way they did from a position of significant weakness at 97-4 at the start of play should be applauded, despite the obvious frustrations from a Yorkshire standpoint as they only claimed two wickets in the day. 

Gloucestershire were set a highly unlikely 498 target during the third evening – their highest successful chase in first-class history is 389.

And despite the fifth-wicket pair’s growing confidence after lunch as they shared a 199-run partnership inside 56 overs, it was never realistically in consideration given they had started the day under serious pressure.

In the end, the hosts finished a bitterly cold day on 405-6 from 116 overs.  

Yorkshire, for whom Ben Coad was today’s only wicket-taker, claimed 13 points from their second successive draw, and Glos 12. They have also drawn two from two to start the summer.

Ben Coad

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Yorkshire’s Ben Coad finished with two wickets.

Yorkshire travel to Lord’s next to face Middlesex, starting on Friday. They head to North London knowing they have played some good cricket this weekend without being able to apply the finishing touches.

Price and left-handed Bracey, with 147 and 102 respectively, shared nearly 200 inside 56 overs through until the verge of tea when Coad claimed Yorkshire’s first wicket of a day which started at 11.30am. 

Price, 22, played the lead role en-route to his career best score, off 220 balls. 

This was the England Lions man’s fourth first-class career century, the first of which came against Yorkshire in a rain-affected draw at Headingley late last June. 

Dan Moriarty claimed five wickets on debut in that game for Yorkshire having joined on loan from Surrey.

Oh how they could have done with similar today from the left-arm spinner who has since signed for the club permanently. 

Ollie Price

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Gloucestershire’s Ollie Price.

After a delayed start by half an hour following overnight and early morning rain – eight overs were lost – Yorkshire were frustrated by some stout defence in placid batting conditions.

Shan Masood juggled his bowlers and set many a different field, all largely consisting of catchers around the bat. A good number of those were in front of the bat – a couple of short mid-wickets, two short covers, a leg slip for example. 

Adam Lyth opened the bowling with one over from the Pavilion End, joined by Moriarty from the other.

Joe Root’s off-spin was used, with captain Masood employing his seamers in short bursts until the new ball was taken an over before tea.

Price and Bracey dug in during a shortened 25-over morning session, the former advancing from 44 at the start of play to reach his fifty off 104 balls. Bracey, nought not out overnight, reached his fifty in the early stages of the afternoon off 99 balls.

By that stage, Gloucestershire were 193-4 and the fifth-wicket duo were starting to gain in confidence and play a few more shots. 

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Dan Moriarty bowled twice as many overs as any other Yorkshire bowler today. He finished with 1-149 from 43 overs.

Price had offered a sharp chance behind the stumps to Jonny Tattersall off Moriarty on 54 late on in the morning, but in truth chances were few and far between.

Matthew Fisher employed a hit the pitch, short ball tactic for a while, trying to induce a false shot. He struck Bracey on the helmet. But Price, in particular, was up to it. 

He hit three successive leg-side boundaries off the Yorkshire quick at the end of the 55th over and added another with the first ball of the 57th, moving into the nineties.

By that stage, Glos were 197-4 with just under 60 overs remaining in the day.

Shortly after, Price reached his fourth first-class century off 175 balls, cutting Moriarty for his 16th boundary. 

With a minimum of 50 overs remaining in the day, the hosts were 220-4, with Price and Bracey having shared 126. 

Jonny Tattersall

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Jonny Tattersall took a fine catch behind the stumps to help dismiss centurion James Bracey.

A five-minute rain delay cut two more overs from the day’s allocation just before 2.40pm (10 overs were lost in all).

When play resumed, Price and Bracey continued to play comfortably, though the new ball being due close to tea always loomed as a key period.

Coad took it and struck immediately, getting Price caught behind as the score slipped to 293-5 in the 81st over. 

Tea was taken straightaway, and Yorkshire had just under 32 overs afterwards to claim the five wickets they needed.

Coad struck again when he had Bracey brilliantly caught behind by Tattersall going to his left, leaving the score at 314-6 after 87 overs. The ball before, Bracey had reached his century off 198 balls.

It was actually the former England wicketkeeper-batter’s first red ball century since the opening round of the 2022 season – against Yorkshire here. He scored 177 on that occasion in a defeat.

On this occasion, his innings yielded more reward, with captain Graeme van Buuren and Ben Charlesworth batting unbroken through to close, sharing 91 in 29 overs. Van Buuren finished 51 not out.

 

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