The County’s vice-captain was the undoubted star in the opening game of the LV= County Championship making his maiden first-class century and a first-innings 64 as well as taking three wickets in one over.
And after a miserable 2014, Willey says it is good to be back and firing.
“It was a disastrous year personally and for the team,” he said. “So for us to come out there and play in the style that we did, I think there was some difficult times in the game but we fought through which was good.
“On a personal level very good game for me, it’s good to be back and fit.
“I think last year with my injuries and things I sort of fell out of love with the game,
“I’ve had a break didn’t do any cricket up until Christmas, started after and really found my love for it again.
“It (the match against Gloucestershire) swung back and forth, a see-saw of a game really.
“On the last day they had the best of the day, Dent played well and we had nothing left in the tank to try and get any wickets.”
The chances of winning were against Northamptonshire right from the toss as an ever-improving track made sure the side batting last had the best conditions.
“We would have liked to have bowled first,” the County’s director of cricket David Ripley said.
“It was a very good cricket pitch earlier on but it just got flatter as the game continued.
“It would have been a lot harder to take 10 wickets on the last day than it was on the first.
“But, having lost the toss and had to bat first, to still be in with a chance on the final day is encouraging.
“As a bowling group I would have liked more and it would have been good to see the opposition have to play more.
“But it’s been a good four-day game and a good advert for Division Two cricket.”
The match was former Northamptonshire spinner Richard Dawson’s first as Gloucestershire’s head coach.
And he praised an outstanding effort from Dent to help ensure his reign started on a positive note.
“Chris and Will batted like we asked them to and managed to set up a great draw to be fair,” he said. “For Chris to bat that long, his decision making was outstanding and at the start of the season it was an outstanding effort from them.
“The only thing we were thinking about was getting to tea and seeing where we were at, Northants bowled very well, tried a lot of things, tried bouncing them, tried spin so they were quite proactive.
“Obviously we weren’t in a position to push for the win but that’s not to say when we turned up this morning it was out of the question.”