This is a fascinating game that is very much in the balance at the end of a second day that saw batting a much easier proposition than on the first day.
It was good to see Steve Stubbings efforts lauded in the press although less good to see our bowlers having to work hard for wickets this morning. Snell and Lewis proved very stubborn and once again it was Waggy who rose to the occasion and finished with an excellent six wickets. That's two seasons in a row now that he has passed the 50 wicket mark. While his batting is a little more "iffy", he remains a player good enough to be considered a genuine allrounder rather than a bowler who bats. His fielding is excellent too and he is a key member of this side. When one considers he is bowling through an injury we see how big a contribution he makes to the side.
Paul Borrington has had a tough game here, but Dan Birch batted well and Chris Rogers completed a double hand (40 and 74) in match that is worth more than many a century. When he was eventually dismissed the game was tilting Gloucestershire's way, but Tom New joined Greg Smith and they steered us to calmer waters of 193-4 at the close, 158 ahead.
Quite how many are required to force a win is debatable. I'd have thought we'd need at least 250, while 300 wouldn't be sniffed at. The wicket seems to have flattened out and the danger for both sides would be the reappearance of cloud cover. I'd be quite happy with a sunny Friday and an overcast, muggy (but dry) Saturday for Wagg and Langeveldt to work their magic.
One final point. To me, the under-utilisation of Wayne White suggests that the captain doesn't have too much faith in him. White bowled only eight overs while Ian Hunter bowled 15 and the others more. He also went for four an over, which while not expensive as such is probably more than one would expect in bowler-friendly conditions, especially yesterday.
Warwickshire's fine batting today suggests that they will perhaps press for a win over Essex in the next two days, leaving us fighting only for placing in Division 2. No disgrace in that, and another year in this division should enable some of these young players to develop further in 2009