Rain thwarts Lancs' final day push for victory in Bristol
Miles Hammond and James Bracey batted Gloucestershire towards safety before rain wiped out the last two sessions of the LV= County Championship match with Lancashire at the Seat Unique Stadium, Bristol.
Only 19 overs were possible at the start of the final day, which began with the home side precariously placed on 99 for three in their second innings, just 34 runs ahead.
Overnight pair Hammond and Bracey negotiated them with few alarms on the placid pitch, both reaching half-centuries in taking the score to 176 for three by the time rain started to fall at 12.20pm.
Hammond was unbeaten on 58 and Bracey 55 when play ceased. An early lunch was taken, and play almost restarted at 2.05pm, with umpires and teams ready to take the field.
But more rain started to fall and became heavier, to the frustration of the groundstaff, who had been on and off with the covers.
Umpires Rob Bailey and Neil Pratt abandoned any prospect of further play at 3.10pm.
Lancashire took 14 points from the drawn contest to consolidate their position in the top three of the First Division, while Gloucestershire’s 13 points left them still occupying bottom place.
The hosts have still not won a Championship game this season in eight attempts, but will take some comfort from having competed well in a closely-fought contest.
Bracey, eager to overcome a poor run of form stretching back to the second match of the Championship campaign, was positive from the outset, cover-driving the opening delivery of the day from Will Williams for four.
Unbeaten on 14 overnight, the England player was the first to his fifty, having faced 90 balls and hit seven boundaries.
Fellow left-hander Hammond followed suit in the same over, bowled by Jack Morley, having just dispatched the spinner over long-on for six.
His half-century occupied 124 deliveries and also featured 5 fours. But the time the rain came, Gloucestershire were 111 ahead and, with precious little assistance in the pitch for the bowlers, a draw looked the only likely outcome.