Gloucestershire - Derbyshire: Nightwatchman Norwell steals show in Bristol with fearless century

On day three of the County Championship encounter at Bristol, Gloucestershire's Liam Norwell scored a century as a nightwatchman

Gloucestershire - Derbyshire: Nightwatchman Norwell steals show in Bristol with fearless century
Liam Norwell celebrates scoring his maiden first-class century (image via: Getty)

On day three of the County Championship clash between Gloucestershire and Derbyshire in Bristol, Liam Norwell stole the show after blazing a century as a nightwatchman for the home side.

Registered on the scorecard to bat at number ten, Norwell stepped-up on Monday evening to protect the top-order batsmen after Cameron Bancroft had lost his wicket late in the day's play.

Norwell took just 120 balls to reach the mark, sharing in a partnership of 168 with Chris Dent, who himself passed 100 on Tuesday morning as the home side moved themselves into a strong position in the contest. 

Chris Dent batted alongside Norwell throughout his innings, scoring a century of his own (image via: Getty)

Norwell attacks in the first hour as second-wicket partnership passes 100

Returning from the night before on two not out after completing his role as the nightwatchman, Norwell came out playing his shots early in a move you would expect from any bowler batting in his position.

Still 334 runs behind their visitors following day two's action, Gloucestershire were not in a position of strength going into the day's play, but Dent and Norwell played in a free manor which soon turned the momentum in their favour.

Norwell was finding the boundary with ease, playing some huge drives down the ground, but didn't give one opportunity to the Derby fielders throughout the entire innings. 

He passed 50 with a solid cover-drive off the spin of Wes Durston, with the 100 partnership between himself and Dent then bought up two deliveries later. 

Norwell follows Dent to three-figures soon after lunch break

Alongside the aggressive Norwell was the more passive Dent, who bought up his 100 from 154 balls, his ninth for the county and second in a row at the County Ground. 

As the opening session of the day came to an end, the home side had added 144 runs for no loss, and hadn't even given the Derbyshire bowlers a sniff of a wicket, offering no half-chances at all. The seam-attack of Luke Fletcher, Andy Carter and Ben Cotton offered very little threat whatsoever and will be disappointed with the way they bowled in conditions which may have helped them early on in the day.

After a break for lunch, Norwell took just 10 minutes after the interval to complete a famous century, which had come off 120 deliveries and included 14 fours and three sixes. 

The ground stood to applause Norwell, who registered his first career century in the process, beating his previous best of 78 which came in 2014 against Worcestershire at Cheltenham

Just after reaching his century, Norwell was given out LBW off the bowling of Chesney Hughes for 102, bringing to an end an incredible partnership of 168 alongside Dent which will live long in the memory of those in attendance. 

Later in the day, Dent's extended vigil at the crease came to an end when he was bowled by Hughes for 180 off of 312 deliveries with Gloucestershire well past 400 and heading for a first innings lead.