A day to remember for Tomlinson
Watch highlights from day two
James Tomlinson will not forget the rain-truncated second day of Hampshire's LV= County Championship Division Two match with Gloucestershire at a damp Ageas Bowl in a hurry even if it fails to register with the other 21 players in the years to come.
Tomlinson, a Hampshire stalwart for a decade, reached the first half-century of his career, batting at number 11, and then took the only Gloucestershire wicket to fall before rain brought a premature end to proceedings mid-way through the afternoon session.
Only 32.2 overs were possible in total as Hampshire moved from their overnight 251 for nine to 297 all out and Gloucestershire made a steady response in reaching 94 for one, 203 behind with two days left to play.
The pitch was still lively and helpful for the bowlers when play resumed today but it did not appear so as Hampshire's last-wicket pair of Tomlinson and David Balcombe combined to frustrate every change to the attack made by Gloucestershire captain Alex Gidman.
Coming together when Hampshire were 182 for nine after losing seven wickets for 38 in a middle-order collapse, Balcombe and Tomlinson put on 115 in just under 30 overs, without either offering a genuine chance and batting in an orthodox fashion to shame those who had tumbled before them.
Tomlinson's previous best was 43 but he raised his fifty with an edge over the slips for his seventh four and got a standing ovation for his efforts from the crowd and relieved team-mates on the home balcony.
Having reached the milestone, Tomlinson chipped the next delivery from slow left-arm spinner Tom Smith to mid-off where David Payne clutched the catch.
Tomlinson faced 98 balls in fractionally more than two hours of defiance while Balcombe, who has struggled to break into the team this season with his medium pace, was the senior participant of an obdurate partnership.
It was Hampshire's best last-wicket stand for two years since Balcombe and Chris Wood put on 168 against Leicestershire at Grace Road.
Balcombe's unbeaten 65 was the third half-century of his career, coming off 97 balls and including nine fours.
The last-wicket partnership ruined some Gloucestershire bowling analyses, with Liam Norwell, who had done so much damage yesterday, finishing with 4-103 while Smith took 3-30.
Gloucestershire needed a strong response and they got it thanks to openers Will Tavare and Chris Dent who raced to 74 in 21.2 overs with authority and determination.
But just as Gloucestershire seemed poised for a big total, Tomlinson was reintroduced to the Hampshire attack with devastating effect.
The bearded left-arm seamer had Dent, who had compiled a fluent 30, playing across the line to earn an lbw decision.
Tavare, who was unbeaten with 44 including eight fours, and Alex Gidman, 11 not out, took Gloucestershire through to the close before rain drove the players from the field in the 27th over of the innings.
Kyle Abbott, Tomlinson's team-mate, said: “We were loving every minute of that last-wicket stand. I don't think I have heard the Hampshire balcony that loud all season.
''I think Tomlinson's maiden fifty got as much applause as the double-century James Vince got against Essex in the last championship match here. The guys were living each run.
''Hopefully the rain will juice-up the pitch and prove more favourable to the bowlers. It is swinging about already.''
Gloucestershire opener Tavare said: “We had a frustrating first hour. Our bowlers put in a lot of hard work for one wicket.
''It was important we got off to a good start when we batted but there is no doubt the momentum at that stage was with Hampshire.
''Denty and myself managed to stop that a bit but the wicket was playing well. Now we need to build on the solid start we have made.
''We need a big score to get some bonus points and I am sure we can do it. It is a good cricket wicket and there is plenty in it still for the bowlers.''