WILL Tavare realised a boyhood dream yesterday when he scored a century on his County Championship debut for Gloucestershire against Hampshire at the County Ground.

Selected to bat at number three with Gareth Roderick ruled out for about six weeks after fracturing his finger, Tavare came in with the score on 17-1 and remained there until the close of play on day one, with his unbeaten 135 helping Gloucestershire reach 292-5.

He showed no signs of nerves as he brought up three figures by hitting Liam Dawson for six and developed big partnerships of 163 with captain Michael Klinger (81) and 103 with Will Gidman (55).

Bristol born and bred Tavare grew up a Gloucestershire fan and has happy memories of watching heroes like Chris Taylor and Jack Russell, who his dad Jeremy played with for the seconds, during the club’s trophy-laden period between 1999 and 2004.

The 24-year-old played for the county at youth level and impressed for the second team last season before being signed on a one-year contract during the winter.

He said: “I’ve got a little bit of Kent in me because my dad grew up that way and obviously because of his brother (former Kent and England batsman Chris Tavare) I’ve always kept an eye on their scores but Gloucestershire have always been my first team.

“With the direction the club is going, it’s great to be a part of it to be honest.

“It’s really exciting. I’m pretty proud and I know my mum and dad are pretty excited about it as well, and my brother, so it’s really pleasing.

“Hopefully I can cement a place, and if I can do that it means I’m scoring runs, which will obviously benefit the county and other players as well so that’s my main aim for the year.”

Tavare was able to walk in to pre-season training from his Henleaze home and has settled in quickly.

He said: “It’s been quite easy because I’ve known a lot of the guys for quite a while now. I’ve known Denty (Chris Dent) since I was 12 or 13 and we started playing age group stuff together.

“Alex (Gidman) and Hamish (Marshall) have been really good as senior players, and it’s been really easy with John (Bracewell) to talk about the game.

“He’s really encouraging us to get involved in that sort of thing and not keep quiet in the corner.”