WORCESTERSHIRE will look to bounce back with early wickets tomorrow after Gloucestershire enjoyed the better of the opening day of the LV= County Championship clash.
Gloucestershire exploited the bowler-friendly conditions after winning the toss and bowling Worcestershire out for 194 in 51.4 overs — their lowest Division Two score of the campaign.
Richard Oliver top-scored with 52 for the hosts before Shaaiq Choudhry and Charlie Morris added a defiant 46 for the last wicket, which was the highest partnership of the innings.
But a century partnership between Gareth Roderick (88 not out) and Alex Gidman (57no) enabled Gloucestershire to reach 181-2 off 44 overs by the close at New Road.
Table-toppers Worcestershire were put into bat on a green-tinged pitch and Oliver was quickly into his stride with a four off Craig Miles.
The left hander then cut, drove and pulled David Payne for three boundaries in quick succession.
But County skipper Daryl Mitchell registered his first duck of a memorable season with 17 on the board when he was adjudged lbw to Miles from a ball that kept low.
Oliver continued to score at a healthy rate although he had one slice of fortune with an edge over the slips for four off Miles.
Tom Fell, who finished as the County’s leading scorer in the Royal London One-Day Cup, edged through to wicketkeeper Roderick on seven to provide Miles with his second wicket.
The 50 came up in the 12th over and new batsman Alexei Kervezee was dropped on one at point off Miles.
Oliver was dealing almost exclusively in boundaries and reached his half-century off just 46 balls with 12 fours out of 74-2.
It was his fourth score of 50 or more in his fourth championship appearance for the County.
But after making 52 he nibbled at a Benny Howell delivery and was caught behind to leave Worcestershire on 81-3.
The 100 came up in the 23rd over but, in the penultimate over before lunch, Tom Kohler-Cadmore (7) provided Roderick with his third catch.
Kervezee remained unbeaten on 31 at the interval with the total on 112-4 from 29 overs.
But he failed to add to his score before being trapped lbw by Liam Norwell in the first over after lunch.
Ben Cox opted for an aggressive approach, pulling Miles for two fours and a six.
Joe Leach (1) was caught at mid-wicket off a mistimed pull from a Miles delivery and Cox (25) edged Howell through to Roderick.
Jack Shantry and Mitchell McClenaghan were both dismissed for one before Choudhry and Morris provided last-wicket resistance.
Morris eventually provided Roderick with his fifth catch after making a championship-best 24 to leave Choudhry unbeaten on 27. Miles took 4-54, Norwell 3-45 and Howell 3-27.
McClenaghan made an early breakthrough for the County when Chris Dent (8) was adjudged lbw with 12 on the board.
Morris claimed his 40th championship wicket of the campaign when Will Tavare (23) drove to Fell, who held onto a good catch at second slip.
But that was the end of Worcestershire’s tangible success for the day as Roderick and Gidman reached their half-centuries off 52 and 75 balls respectively.