County Championship: Gloucestershire v Lancashire ends in weather-hit draw at Cheltenham
|Specsavers County Championship Division Two, College Ground, Cheltenham (day four):|
|Gloucestershire 205: Hammond 82; Mahmood 4-48 & 68-2: Dent 30*|
|Lancashire 244: Jones 53, Jennings 52; M Taylor 5-57|
|Gloucestershire (9 pts) drew with Lancashire (9 pts)|
Lancashire's winning start was ended at rain-hit Cheltenham College as, inevitably, the County Championship Division Two leaders' game with Gloucestershire ended in a draw.
The loss of the entire second and third day proved too big an obstacle to force a positive result.
Lancashire began the final day on 47-2 and at least got an extra batting bonus point before being bowled out for 244.
The hosts then reached 68-2 before hands were shaken on a draw.
Matt Taylor was the pick of the Gloucestershire bowlers on the final afternoon, taking 5-57, his best figures in Championship cricket, including the wickets of Rob Jones and England's Keaton Jennings after they had both made half-centuries for Lancashire.
The pair fell in successive Taylor overs, Jones caught behind wafting outside the off stump for 53, before Jennings was caught at slip for 52.
Lancashire, relegated in September, arrived in Gloucestershire hoping for a fourth successive win following victories over Middlesex, Northants and Worcestershire.
But, having bowled out Gloucestershire on day one, those hopes were undone when overnight rain seeped under the covers - and then the third day was entirely lost too, following further rain.
This was the second of successive matches on out grounds for Lancashire, who now host Leicestershire in Liverpool next week, their first game at Aigburth in five years.
Old Trafford is in use for the duration of the World Cup, during which Lancashire will also play their first game at Sedburgh School, across the Cumbrian border.
Gloucestershire now have a 12-day break before they too return to action at an out ground, at Arundel Castle, where they start their next game against Sussex on 11 June.
Gloucestershire fast bowler Matt Taylor:
"It was nice to get a few wickets out there. We talked about getting as many bonus points as we could. We knew if we bowled in the right areas, we'd get a few rewards.
"The pitch, where it got wet, didn't play as differently as everyone thought. It actually played pretty well.
"From my end there was a bit of movement just off the seam and a bit of swing and luckily I managed to get a few wickets."
Lancs captain Dane Vilas told BBC Radio Lancashire:
"It's obviously very frustrating, especially after the way we started on the first day. We bowled incredibly well.
"Having bowled them out for just over 200 and then being in a good position at 47-2 overnight, we were looking forward to a good second day.
"But we lost day two to a wet pitch, day three was a washout and we could only get a draw. Ultimately it's disappointing. We had a good chance this week but it is what it is."
Umpire Jeff Evans:
"It's certainly the first time we've experienced anything like that. The covering was sufficient. It really was just one of those things.
"It was a freak of nature that we had such a storm on the first evening. The covering was in place, but just happened to leak.
"The wind must have caught a sheet somewhere and water got on. It couldn't have got onto the pitch in a worse area. It was right on a length.
"Clearly it wasn't fit for the couple of days we missed. There was then a lot of rain, which prevented us getting on there. But it had sufficient time to dry out and we had a good final day."