Godleman dominates Gloucestershire
Opener Billy Godleman equalled his career-best score as Essex were bowled out for 364 on the first day of their LV= County Championship Division Two match against Gloucestershire at Chelmsford.
The 23-year-old left-hander displayed a mixture of patience and a series of punishing strokes to score 130 as he left the visitors wondering if their decision to field first was a wise one.
He experienced a few anxious moments early on, beaten a couple of times as the new ball nipped about, but then settled in to provide the rock upon which the Essex innings was built.
Godleman needed 99 balls to reach his half-century and a further 82 to complete his third hundred for the county that contained 14 fours and a six.
He gathered another couple of boundaries before he was bowled by Ian Saxelby just before the close.
But as well as Godleman played, it was Adam Wheater who produced the most entertaining innings of the day.
The 21-year-old right-hander confirmed the rich promise he showed last season with a swashbuckling 56 from 42 balls.
Those runs arrived with the help of 11 fours and a six. He drove and pulled with power and reached his fifty with four successive fours against the fast-medium pace of James Fuller.
Wheater's innings was finally cut short by the second delivery after lunch when he slashed Paul Muchall to Alex Gidman at first slip.
It was Gidman's safe pair of hands that had helped make the opening breakthrough to provide brother Will with success and end the confident start made by debutant Alviro Petersen.
The South African opener struck his first deliveries from both Gidman and Fuller to the boundary, but was then undone by one that did enough off the pitch to find the edge when he had made 15.
Other batsmen promised substantial contributions but failed to make the best of good starts.
Tom Westley and Greg Smith both batted attractively until getting out for 33 and 34 respectively, and skipper James Foster reached 46 before edging Fuller to Chris Dent in the slips.
All three of them shared in half-century partnerships with Godleman, as did Graham Napier, who scored 27 before he edged a third catch to Alex Gidman when attempting to drive Saxelby.
Saxelby and Fuller proved the most successful of the Gloucestershire bowlers, ending with 3-76 and 3-86 respectively, while Muchall picked up two wickets.