SUPERB centuries by Alex Gidman and Will Tavare eased Gloucestershire to safety on the final day of their County Championship Division Two clash against Essex at Bristol.
The pair, who came together with their side in trouble on 18-2 in the second innings, shared an unbroken second wicket stand of 233 to give Gloucestershire an 80-run lead by the time the teams shook hands on the draw at 4.50pm.
Tavare, who only signed a one-year contract in the winter after impressing for Gloucestershire seconds last year, reached his second ton in just three County Championship games this season by finishing unbeaten on 100, while Gidman was 119 not out.
Essex declared on their overnight score of 305-8 in the first innings and removed both opening Gloucestershire batsmen early on with Chris Dent (5) being caught behind off David Masters before captain Michael Klinger's off-stump was sent cartwheeling out of the ground by England hopeful Tymal Mills.
The watchful Tavare led the recovery before lunch and Gidman found his fluency in the afternoon session as the sun came out and batting conditions became easier.
Gidman reached three figures first when he smashed Monty Panesar through the covers for four and Tavare dived over the line to bring up his century after scampering two off Tom Westley.
Gloucestershire were on the back foot for most of the contest after being bowled out for 134 in their first innings despite 61 from Chris Dent as Masters (6-48) and Graham Napier (4-62) tore through them.
Matthew Taylor took the prized wicket of England captain Alastair Cook (4) in the third ball in Essex's innings, while Ian Saxelby marked his first appearance since August 2012 by taking 3-71, but Ben Foakes' unbeaten 132 and captain James Foster's 91 during a 215-run sixth wicket stand helped them score 305-8.