Snell ensures tame draw
Gloucestershire and Essex drew the final LV County Championship match against Essex at Bristol after a combination of bad weather and defiant middle-order batting prevented the visitors from completing a sixth win of the season.
Steve Snell was the man who anchored the home side using his uncomplicated style to score an unbeaten 70 across three hours and 40 minutes, but Gloucestershire nonetheless captured the uncoveted wooden spoon.
The Gloucestershire wicketkeeper received excellent support from David Brown (48) and Richard Dawson (40) to hold up Essex on day four.
Essex had looked in total control following the capture of two quick wickets when play eventually resumed after fog had delayed the start until 12.55pm.
The delay resulted in the loss of 28 overs from the scheduled allocation.
Gloucestershire resumed on 175 for three, still requiring another 140 runs to make their opponents bat again.
The problems soon increased for the hosts when they lost Kadeer Ali and Chris Taylor in the first 25 deliveries of the day.
Kadeer had resumed on 92 not out and only needed eight further deliveries to reach a 183-ball century that included 12 boundaries.
But his celebrations were short-lived when, three balls later, he edged a drive at a ball from pace bowler Chris Wright and was caught behind by James Foster for an even 100.
In his next over, Wright removed Taylor, who added two runs to his overnight score when he attempted an expansive cover drive only to have his middle stump uprooted.
That left the hosts 185 for five, but a partnership of 85 between Brown and Snell, who completed a 90-ball half-century, defied Essex for another 22 overs until Ryan ten Doeschate produced a delivery that trapped Brown in front lbw.
Snell found another formidable ally in Dawson and the pair batted sensibly for 70 runs to ensure that their side avoided an innings defeat.
By the time ten Doeschate forced Dawson to pick out Tony Palladino at mid-on, Gloucestershire were 25 runs ahead with a minimum of 24 overs remaining.
Snell opted for entrenchment, with skipper Jon Lewis contributing 26 out of 30 until driving to Jaik Mickleburgh at point off Ravi Bopara.
When the final hour began, the home side were 55 runs ahead with two wickets intact.
Despite regularly ringing the bowling changes, Essex were unable to gain a further breakthrough and the teams settled for a draw with nine overs remaining and the home side 70 runs ahead.