Gidman sets up vital victory
Gloucestershire 192 for 1 beat Netherlands 191 by nine wickets
Gloucestershire captain Alex Gidman hit his first century of the season as his team kept alive their hopes of a place in the Clydesdale Bank 40 semi-finals with a nine-wicket victory over the Netherlands at Bristol.
Michael Dighton (51) and Wesley Barresi (39) helped the visitors to 191 all out after winning the toss in excellent batting conditions. David Payne returned 3 for 33. The total never seemed likely to be enough, and the Gladiators cruised to victory despite losing Will Porterfield to the first ball of their innings, with Gidman's 104 not out and James Franklin's unbeaten 77 guiding them to their target with 3.3 overs to spare.
The result put Gloucestershire back into second place in Group B with 16 points from their 11 games and, depending on other results, victory at Northamptonshire in their final fixture could see them finish as the best second-placed side.
Gidman had just one moment of anxiety in a fluent hundred, made off 112 balls with 11 fours. Peter Borren thought he had caught him at short midwicket early in his innings, but the umpires decided the ball has been taken on the half-volley.
Franklin was equally assured, picking the ones and twos, in a perfectly-paced partnership. By the end the New Zealander had faced 103 deliveries and hit only four fours.
The Netherlands finish their group campaign with just a solitary victory. But they looked to have laid the foundation for a bigger score when reaching 132 for 2 in the 32nd over. Eric Szwarczynski and Wilfred Diepeveen gave them a solid start with a stand of 41 in 12 overs before Szwarczynski was bowled cutting at James Franklin for 18.
It was 47 for 2 when left-arm spinner Ed Young took his first wicket for Gloucestershire, turning one past Diepeveen's forward defensive shot. But Dighton and Barresi then added 85 in 17 overs with the best batting of the innings, Dighton reaching his half-century off 54 balls, with two fours and two sixes.
The game changed when Dighton was run out by Gidman's throw to the bowler's end from midwicket as he attempted a quick single. It was the first of eight wickets to fall in as many overs as Gidman (2 for 23) and Steve Kirby (2 for 32) joined Payne in pegging back the visitors as they attempted to accelerate in the closing overs.