LV County Championship - Division Two
Essex 510 (V Chopra 155, J S Foster 122, J D Middlebrook 75, R J Woodman 4-65) v Gloucestershire 195 (W T S Porterfield 69) & 385-8 (Kadeer Ali 100, S D Snell 70 no, C G Taylor 60)
Gloucestershire (7pts) drew with Essex (12pts)
Gloucestershire batted throughout a weather-shortened final day for a draw against Essex, although it was not enough for to avoid the wooden spoon.
Fog delayed the start of play until 12.55pm and, when the action did get started, Kadeer Ali extended his overnight 92 into a sixth first-class hundred, although he was then immediately caught behing off Chris Wright's (2-59) bowling.
But solid contributions Chris Taylor (60), David Brown (40) and Steve Snell (70no) ensured Essex were frustrated in their search for a sixth win of the season.
Gloucestershire had reached 385-8 in their second innings when stumps were drawn to bring the curtain down on another English summer.
Essex finish in fourth place in the LV County Championship Division Two table, while Gloucestershire end bottom, 14 points adrift of Glamorgan.
Kadeer Ali and Chris Taylor held Essex's victory charge with a battling century partnership at Bristol.
An early finish looked to be on the cards when the hosts were skittled out for 195 in the first innings, and they lost their fiorst two wickets for three runs as they followed on.
But Taylor joined Ali in the middle following the dismissal of Rod Woodman for 13, and the pair batted out the last 34 overs of the day to take Gloucestershire on to 175 for three.
Ali struck 11 fours in his 92 not out, while Taylor's 58 included eight boundaries.
Earlier, Chris Wright, Jahid Ahmed and Ryan ten Doeschate each took three wickets as Gloucestershire slumped from an overnight 72 for three to 195 all out.
The early part of the afternoon session was disastrous for Gloucestershire as they lost their last five wickets for 28 runs in 9.4 overs.
Will Porterfield and Steve Snell batted well in the morning but their dismissals triggered the slide - Porterfield's 191-ball innings of 69, which included 11 boundaries, came to end when he attempted to leave a delivery from Ahmed and was given out lbw.
Ten Doeschate took the next three wickets as Snell was caught at cover for 32, Richard Dawson was leg before and Jon Lewis was caught behind.
Gloucestershire's dismal innings concluded when Steve Kirby skied a pull to square leg, which ensured a career-best return of three for 42 for Ahmed in his fifth first-class match.
The bowler then had Porterfield and Hamish Marshall lbw insde the first three overs of the follow-on, but Ali and Taylor dug in to show that batting was not that difficult on a slow and lifeless pitch.
Essex wicketkeeper James Foster pressed his claims for a place in the England tour party of India with a century on the second day at Bristol.
Foster is being touted as a possible candidate for the tour party, which will be announced on Monday, and he showed his batting prowess by taking his overnight 68 to 122 as Essex posted 510 on a docile pitch.
The player, who won the last of his seven Test caps in 2003, lifted his first-class average for the season to 42.26 as he struck nine fours in his 192-ball innings.
James Middlebrook also hit 75, while Rob Woodman made a great Gloucestershire debut with a career-best four for 65.
The hosts then struggled to 72 for three in reply before bad light ended play with 15 overs to go.
Essex resumed on 318 for five and lost their first wicket of the day when Ryan ten Doeschate was out lbw to Steve Kirby in the eighth over after playing across the line.
But the hosts then had to wait 16 overs and 107 runs for another wicket as Foster and Middlebrook batted with ease.
Foster reached a 163-ball century before his innings came to an end in the second over after lunch when he thick-edged a drive off Kirby to Will Porterfield at gully.
Left-arm seamer Woodman, who is on trial from the MCC Young Cricketers, then claimed the last three wickets of Chris Wright, Antonio Palladino and Middlebrook, who skied a drive to Kadeer Ali at wide mid-on, having struck nine fours and two sixes in his 117-ball innings.
In reply, Gloucestershire still found themselves in trouble at 49 for three in the 25th over after Kadeer was out leg before to Palladino for six, Hamish Marshall was bowled for 13 by Jahid Ahmed and Woodman cut loosely at Wright and Jaik Mickleburgh took a straightforward catch at point.
Only another six overs were possible before umpires Peter Willey and Tim Robinson took the players off shortly after 5pm, with Porterfield on 31 and Chris Taylor on 14.
Varun Chopra scored a rare century to inspire Essex to 318-5 on the opening day against bottom side Gloucestershire at Bristol.
Chopra bagged his first hundred since reaching three figures on his Essex debut over two years ago, when he reached 106 in May 2006 - also against Gloucestershire.
The same opposition did the trick again as Chopra made 115 from only 167 deliveries before being trapped lbw by the second new ball by Steve Kirby.
Wicketkeeper James Foster finished on 68 not out and added 138 alongside Chopra for the sixth wicket, with Foster still at the crease when play ended early due to bad light.
Anthony Ireland was the main aggressor for the home side as he took the first three wickets to fall in the Essex innings, while left-armer Rod Woodman bagged a wicket on his Gloucestershire debut.
A placid pitch in Bristol hardly helped Gloucestershire's cause and Foster will be hoping of reaching three figures himself on day two.