Bowler bolstered

Gloucestershire 424 and 47-0 Somerset 478
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The Independent Online
PETER BOWLER may not have bowled people over here on a sweltering day but, bat in hand, he administered the sort of quiet going-over that left Somerset satisfied as they worked their way towards equality against Gloucestershire.

Bowler celebrated his 21st first-class century - and a maiden one at that for his new masters. The only disappointing thing from his point of view is that his latest batting feat came a few days too late for his own liking.

Still, Bowler is the holder of a neat record. In 1986, he became the first Leicestershire signing to score a hundred on his debut and he continued the trend when he switched to Derbyshire two years later, registering 155 against Cambridge University - the only instance of a player making a three-figure contribution on a first appearance for two different counties.

And the hat-trick beckoned for Bowler at the start of another championship season with fresh employers. The snag was that against Glamorgan on the County Ground he ran out of partners and was left stranded on 84 as Somerset lost by eight wickets. Someone had to suffer, and it was just Gloucestershire's bad luck to be on the receiving end yesterday.

Bowler made 136 before falling to the slow left arm of Mark Davies, who was eventually rewarded with figures of four for 86. By then, however, Bowler had featured in a stand of 193 for the third wicket with Richard Harden, who had made a century against Glamorgan and recorded another here, and one of 123 with Andy Hayhurst for the fourth.

With half centuries from Hayhurst and Graham Rose, Somerset eventually established a lead of 54 and were looking to make evening inroads into Gloucestershire. There was just one snag, though, and a considerable one at that.

Caddick delivered the first over, had Tony Wright dropped at second slip, but then limped off ominously. The fast bowler had had corrective surgery for shin soreness during the winter and it now appears that the old trouble has returned already.