Glamorgan 442 and 63 for 1 lead Gloucestershire 399 for 8 dec (Howell 163, Bracey 156) by 106 runs
Gloucestershire declared behind in their first innings at Cardiff, having just missed out on a fifth batting point, after a maiden first-class hundred from James Bracey and Benny Howell’s career-best 163.
Gloucestershire’s tactics were puzzling, as Glamorgan ended the third day with a lead of 102 with 96 overs left in the game. They were in sight of 400, needing 16 off five overs and four from the last, but then failed by one run and promptly declared. The highlight of the day was a record-breaking partnership by Howell and 20-year-old Bracey.
Glamorgan are unlikely to leave a generous target, so an exciting final day of the season at Cardiff may not transpire, unless the two captains can contrive a result.
After 24 overs were lost to rain at the start of the day, Howell and Bracey continued to pile on the runs on a desperately slow pitch that frustrated the Glamorgan attack. Howell quickly scored the four runs he needed for the second first-class century of his career and also passed the 102 he scored against Leicestershire two years ago.
Bracey was initially more watchful in his approach but, after passing fifty, he began to accelerate and reached the first century, from 142 balls, in only his fifth first-class game, and third in the Championship.
The pair then passed the previous highest stand for the second wicket against Glamorgan, set by Alf Dipper and Harry Smith at the St Helen’s ground in Swansea in 1921, but shortly afterwards, having added 240, Howell was lbw to Michael Hogan. Two balls later, Hogan, armed with the new ball, struck again, when George Hankins had his off stump knocked back.
Phil Mustard joined Bracey, playing many of his trademark strokes through the off side, and they had put on 59 before Mustard, attempting to force Marchant de Lange off the back foot, edged a catch to second slip.
Any thoughts that Gloucestershire might have declared, having gathered four batting points, when Mustard departed were dispelled when Jack Taylor and Kieran Noema-Barnett came in, but neither made any impression. Taylor nicked off to slip and Noema-Barnett had his off bail trimmed.
Bracey’s vigil, which had lasted six-and-a-quarter hours, eventually ended when he holed out at long-on, as Gloucestershire made a pig’s ear to trying to get the final batting point. Glamorgan had 13 overs to face at the end of the day and they lost Connor Brown, to David Payne, before closing on 63 for 1.