GLOUCESTERSHIRE and Hampshire played out an even first day in their winner-takes-all contest at Cheltenham with the home side making 214 for six before rain took out 30 overs.

Having won the toss, five of Gloucestershire’s top six got starts but none of could make a significant score as Hampshire chipped away, writes Alex Winter.

Miles Hammond and George Scott shared 61 for the opening wicket but the innings then stuttered to 173 for six before Jack Taylor, with 34 not out, and Ollie Price, unbeaten on 18, came together.

The rain arrived at a bad time with their partnership making good progress, taking Gloucestershire into bonus-point territory.

The hosts elected to bat in front of a good crowd - this being the only weekend cricket of the festival - and after an hour’s play, the mood had brightened further as Hammond and Scott delivered an excellent start, each making 31.

Hammond, in good form, drove Kyle Abbott either side of point, added another smart driven boundary off Brad Wheal before pulling him, via an edge, over the slips cordon, albeit off a no ball.

Scott flicked two boundaries off his legs and angled Keith Barker off the back foot wide of third man. His 31 was his highest score of the season, in his fourth match, but he was trapped lbw by Colin de Grandhomme.

The New Zealander struck again with one that held its line a fraction to have Hammond caught behind.

In between dismissals, Wheal got one to go away from James Bracey and bowled him for a seven-ball duck. Gloucestershire lost three for 11 in 33 balls and the fine start was undone.

Hampshire were then firmly on top as Abbott nipped one back to trap Tom Lace lbw for 19 to leave the home side 104 for four.

Ryan Higgins played with customary vim, driving and flicking Mason Crane for boundaries but totally misread the flight of a full delivery and drove over the top of it to be bowled for 25 from 24 balls.

The pattern continued as Glenn Phillips hoisted Crane over long-on and picked up a ball not that short from Baker over midwicket for sixes but a flat-footed drive at Wheal produced an edge to slip for 47.

The innings was slipping away but Taylor and Price brought up one batting point and the chance of at least another on day two.