Northamptonshire built on the strong start they made on Day 1 as they bowled Gloucestershire 2XI cheaply to take a 397 run lead on Day 2 in Rockhampton.
Gloucestershire started Day 2 17/0 after safely negotiating six overs the previous evening after Northamptonshire were bowled out for 329.
It didn’t take long for a breakthrough though as George Weldon, who makes his first professional appearance of the year after managing injury and a reworked action, came back in emphatic fashion, bowling both openers in the 10th and 12th over respectively.
Gloucestershire stumbled to 26/2 but began to recover thanks to a 42 run partnership between William and Sam Young until trialist Bailey Wightman forced an outside edge from Naish, resulting in a simple catch for Harry Gouldstone behind the stumps.
Wightman wasn’t finished there as with the very next delivery he bowled William Smale to put the seamer on a hat-trick and put Gloucestershire in trouble at 68-4.
Wightman couldn’t complete his hat-trick but did get his third in his next over, this time removing Robert O’Donnell with an extra bit of pace and bounce, forcing another outside edge through to Gouldstone.
Sam Young and Louie Shaw built up another 40 run partnership for the home side and they reached 113/5 by Lunch.
However, wickets quickly started to fall after lunch as Gloucestershire were reduced from 113/5 at the break to 134 all out 8 overs later.
Jack White picked up three quick wickets along with two from Simon Kerrigan to leave Gloucestershire trailing by 195 runs heading into the second innings in what was an excellent bowling display from Northamptonshire.
The wickets were shared between four bowlers as Jack White ended with figures of 3/18 off 8.3 overs, Bailey Wightman 3/32, Simon Kerrigan 2/15 and George Weldon took 2/16 on his return to the side.
Heading into the second innings with a lead of 195 runs, Northamptonshire knew they had a real opportunity to put runs on the board in good, warm batting conditions.
Hassan Azad, fresh off his mammoth 146 run innings yesterday opened the batting with Emilio Gay who was keen to improve on his first innings. The pair got off to a quick start, posting 32 runs in the first 7 overs but Gay departed for 10, bowled by a Van Meekeren delivery that nipped back sharply.
Justin Broad joined Azad and the pair immediately picked up where they left off the day before following their 142 run partnership. Azad hit 6 fours in the afternoon session, including some elegant shots into the off side. However he fell looking to push the rate, caught attempting to pull Manraj Johal but finding the man near the boundary.
Justin Broad continued his fine form as he was joined by Rob Keogh. Broad and Keogh shared a third-wicket stand of 87 before Keogh fell for a well-made 40.
Gus Miller came to the crease at 142-4 but lost his partner Broad soon after for 59, an innings including 10 fours in a display of power and timing, leaving Northamptonshire 146/4 in the final session of the day.
Miller and Harry Gouldstone steadied the ship for the batting side, putting on an important partnership of 55 from 100 deliveries but it was cut short as Miller was run out on 24 after falling just short of his crease as Harry Gouldstone called for a quick single on the leg side.
Gouldstone and Alex Russell saw out the final over of the day as Northamptonshire finished on 202/5, heading into the penultimate day with a strong 397 run lead and 5 wickets in hand.