Division Two: Tom Westley cracks 163 as Essex and Gloucestershire draw

Last updated: 13th April 2013  

James Foster Essex

James Foster: Added 51 down the order

Tom Westley Essex

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Tom Westley continued his impressive start to the season as Essex's LV= County Championship Division 2 match against Gloucestershire at Chelmsford ended in an inevitable draw.

In a contest ruined by the weather - 156 overs were lost because of rain and bad light - Essex finished on 353-6 in reply to a visiting total of 409-5 declared.

But Westley will look back on the game with immense satisfaction. The 24-year-old opener scored 163, an effort that followed innings of 58 and 133 against Cambridge UCCE and confirmed his rich promise.

In all he batted for six and a quarter hours and struck 23 fours in his 284-ball stay. It was a superb knock as he showed great determination and concentration while biding his time before punishing the loose delivery when it came along.

Westley shared in a century stand with Ravi Bopara as well as half-century partnerships with Mark Pettini and James Foster before Will Gidman ended his marathon occupation of the crease.

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Essex had resumed the final day on 177-3, one on which both counties could only hope to battle for bonus points.

Westley and Pettini shared a 95-run partnership in 29 overs before Gloucestershire claimed their solitary success of the morning's session. It arrived when Pettini, whose share was 35, was trapped leg before to provide Liam Norwell with reward.

Another half-century stand followed as Foster settled in to support Westley, and the pair looked so comfortable that it came as something of a surprise when Westley pushed at a delivery from Will Gidman and nicked a simple catch into the gloves of Cameron Herring. The fifth wicket partnership was worth 73 and carried Essex to 307.

As the clouds gathered Foster and Greg Smith scored at a run a ball before the former was magnificently caught by James Fuller inside the fine leg boundary from a slog-sweep against Benny Howell, immediately after completing his half century. His 51 included six fours and came off 91 balls.

Foster's departure came as rain started to fall but there was time enough for Smith to claim a fourth batting point before the players sought the shelter of the pavilion and an early tea.

Unfortunately rain only increased with intensity and at 4.30 pm the game was abandoned with Essex collecting eight points and Gloucestershire nine.

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