Consistent showers dominated the second day against Essex with only 29 overs possible.

Overnight and morning rain delayed the start until 2:30pm but just six balls were bowled before another heavy shower drove the players off once more.

When they returned, 26 more were bowled which proved enough to see the end of Tom Westley, who chopped on to give Taylor his fourth scalp of the innings. The Essex skipper’s ninth-wicket stand with Allison had realised 72.

Allison on 46 at the time of the second interruption soon passed 50 courtesy of his seventh four and his career-best soon followed as a last-wicket stand with Sam Cook raised 39 before the latter was castled by Jack White.

Cook didn’t take long to make a breakthrough ball in hand, finding significant movement with the new ball in bowler friendly conditions to trap Gay LBW.

New batter Ricardo Vasconcelos endured a torrid stay as the Essex attack took advantage of a gloomy, cloudy Wantage Road. Struck painful blows not once but twice by Cook, he was undone by the arrival in the attack of Allison who bowled him with a ball that nipped back to clip the top of off.

Will Young and Luke Procter prevented any further breakthrough before the murky light closed in.