Bancroft puts Gloucestershire in charge
Bancroft puts Gloucestershire in charge

Cameron Bancroft carried his bat for an unbeaten 206 as Gloucestershire were bowled out for 385 by Kent on the second day of the Specsavers County Championship match at Bristol.

The 24-year-old Australian shared a last-wicket stand of 111 with Matt Taylor, who made a career-best 36, and by the end of the innings had batted for more than eight and a half hours, facing 393 balls and hitting 23 fours and a six.

Bancroft’s score was just five short of his best, the 211 he made for Western Australia, against New South Wales at Perth in 2014-15. It was the first time he had reached three figures in two spells with Gloucestershire.

By the close of a day’s play, which did not start until 1.30pm because of rain, Kent had replied with 60 for two, losing opener Sean Dickson for 20 and nightwatchman Adam Milne for a duck.

Gloucestershire had resumed their first innings on 242 for five and soon plunged into trouble as Darren Stevens (three for 50) sent back Jack Taylor lbw and Kieran Noema-Barnett, whose stumps were scattered as he pushed forward.

Adam Milne (three for 91) then struck twice in an over to remove Josh Shaw and Liam Norwell, leaving the hosts 274 for nine and in grave danger of wasting Bancroft’s efforts.

The opener had begun the day on 124 and was still short of the 150-mark when last man Taylor, with a top score of 32 not out against Essex at Chelmsford in 2014, walked to the wicket.

Together they frustrated the Kent attack and ensured Gloucestershire of a meaningful total. Bancroft picked his runs carefully to protect his partner and Taylor survived a slip chance to Sean Dickson as their stand gathered momentum.

When it reached 77 it became a Gloucestershire record for the last wicket against Kent, beating the partnership put together by Norwell and Tom Smith at Canterbury in 2014.

But Bancroft and Taylor were far from finished and Bancroft moved to his double hundred with a three through the off-side off Mitchell Claydon.

It was Claydon who finally ended Kent’s misery as Taylor was caught at short extra cover by Daniel Bell-Drummond. Bancroft had not given a chance in a tremendous display of concentration and every fielder moved to shake him by the hand as he left the field.

Kent were left with 20 overs to bat in bright sunshine. Liam Norwell soon switched ends to the Pavilion side of the ground as he sought to add to his 56 Championship wickets this season.

But it was Josh Shaw, in his second loan spell from Yorkshire, who made the breakthrough from the Ashley Down Road End as Dickson edged to wicketkeeper Gareth Roderick.

The visitors sent in Milne with four overs remaining, only for Shaw to remove him too, thanks to a low catch at first slip by who else but Bancroft.

Gloucestershire double centurion Cameron Bancroft said: “It was great to mark my last game of the season with Gloucestershire in that fashion.

“It was the last thing on my mind at the start of the day, but how good was Matt Taylor? Holy cow! He was brilliant.

“We needed a big partnership and Matty showed some great guts and class out there. He batted beautifully.

“We were in a great position last night and let it slip. Now we are back on top and batting is not easy against the new ball.”

Kent’s Darren Stevens said: “I took a couple of wickets after the rain delay and we had got into a great position when a catch went down, which was very costly.

“The Gloucestershire lads then batted well on a docile pitch. But it was disappointing for us, having fought back so well from their brilliant start.

“Now they are in a strong position again. Last week we had Durham in trouble and dropped a catch. If we don’t go up this year it is something we will be looking at during the winter and trying to get better at.”