County Championship: Liam Norwell blitz hurts Essex
|LV= County Championship Division Two, Chelmsford (day one)|
|Essex 159: Mickleburgh 42, Norwell 4-32|
|Gloucestershire 77-0: Dent 42 not out|
|Gloucestershire trail by 82 runs|
|Essex 0pts, Gloucestershire 3pts|
A middle-order collapse cost Essex dearly as Gloucestershire took control on the opening day at Chelmsford.
Essex's openers began strongly after being asked to bat as Jaik Mickleburgh top scored with 42 off 67 balls.
But the rest of the batsmen struggled, with Liam Norwell (4-32) rewarded for a good line and length as Essex collapsed from 73-1 to 159 all out.
Openers Will Tavare (42 not out) and Chris Dent (32 not out) then helped Gloucestershire 77-0 at stumps.
Earlier in the day Essex squandered an opening partnership of 61 when they lost six wickets for just 25 runs after lunch, including captain James Foster and Daniel Lawrence in the same over.
Debutant Adeel Malik showed some aggression, hitting three boundaries and a six in his 25 off 23 balls, but Gloucestershire dismissed the hosts in just 45.4 overs before batting sensibly to end the day firmly on top.
Essex head coach Paul Grayson said:
"It was a good toss to win and we would have put Gloucestershire in if we had won it. We had a good first 40 minutes but then things went wrong.
"We need to get wickets early tomorrow if possible but there is still a lot of cricket left in this game.
"We've had many good sessions in the last few games we've played in this competition and now we'll need the squad to show their character again. Today was just one bad day for us."