Those who write for Deep Extra Cover are taught by our esteemed editor that honesty is the best policy.
And so it would be as well to admit that intrepid reporters Harry Everett and yours truly only saw enough of Gloucestershire’s Metro Back quarter final match at Bristol to convince themselves that a home win was a near certainty before fleeing up the M5 to Worcester to see the Pears beaten by New Zealand in a T20 warm-up game – see Harry’s report at deepextracover.com
Whereas a sell out crowd at New Road saw what was virtually a Worcestershire second team in action, it was a much sparser gathering at Bristol to watch the home side book a trip to Leicester next Tuesday to play a semi-final. Short notice because qualification was only achieved a few days ago plus the fact that Gloucestershire, too, have a T20 match against New Zealand scheduled for Sunday, probably accounted at least in part for the disappointing turn-out.
Gloucestershire’s bowlers performed well on the kind of slowish pitch that they know well and the Lancashire top order massively under-deilvered.
David Payne took the key early wicket of Keaton Jennings, caught behind off an excellent delivery. The talented George Bell fell in similar fashion to Tom Price and Paul van Meekeren accounted for Dane Vilas who skied to mid-wicket.
By the time a brief rain shower sent the players to the pavilion, the writing was on the wall. George Balderson had given Ollie Price a return catch and George Lavelle had played on to Anwar Ali.
On the resumption, Luke Wells, who had anchored the innings, was stumped off Ollie Price without adding to his 33 runs. When Matthew Hurst was lbw to van Meekeren, Lancashire were down and almost out at 90-7.
This is where that maxim about honesty starts to apply.
Commentary coming over a mobile phone whilst travelling to Worcester is a poor substitute for seeing with your own eyes. And so it is only possible to say that young Tom Aspinwall did his best, supported by the always admirable Tom Bailey, to drag Lancashire back into the game. They added 75 runs in 17 overs; but when Bailey fell to Anwar and Aspinwall ran himself out, Lancashire’s total of 177 looked woefully inadequate.
As for Gloucestershire’s reply, another dose of the honesty pill compels the revelation that the Hammond hundred off 85 balls with eleven fours and six sixes might, for all we saw of it, have been scored not by Miles but by his famous namesake Wally who starred for the West country team before (and briefly after) the Second World War. All we know is that he was well supported by Olly Price so that the victory was achieved by eight wickets with less than half of the allotted 50 overs bowled.
And so Gloucestershire achieved their fifth consecutive win in the competition. They can therefore go into their semi-final with some confidence.
As for your esteemed reporters, we may have seen only half a game; but that is more than those many missing Gloucestershire supporters witnessed. Let us hope that a fair number of them make the journey to Leicester on Tuesday and, if their team is successful, that they return in force to the East Midlands for the Final at Trent Bridge on 16 September.