Gloucestershire through to NatWest Trophy Final
Jack Russell made 55 at Bristol as Gloucestershire went through to the NatWest Final
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Gloucestershire are looking forward to a fourth consecutive Lord's Final after yesterday's straightforward victory over Lancashire by 98 runs in their NatWest Trophy semi-final at Bristol. The home side posted a daunting 248 for seven in their 50 overs after being put in to bat and Lancashire, after a poor start to their innings, never looked to have a realistic chance of passing that total.
Kim Barnett was the mainstay of the Gloucestershire innings, scoring 80 and setting up the perfect base for a late acceleration. Gloucestershire added 67 off the last 10 overs. Barnett was at the centre of a bizarre incident early on, when he appeared to edge a ball from Glen Chapple to wicketkeeper Warren Hegg. The umpire Alan Whitehead signalled a wide.
Barnett put on a 55-run opening partnership with Tim Hancock and followed up with a 125-run second-wicket stand with wicketkeeper Jack Russell. Captain Mark Alleyne provided the vital impetus late in the innings, with a quick fire 36 from 27 balls.
Lancashire's innings was in the doldrums from the outset. Their two openers, Michael Atherton and Saurav Ganguly, failed to reach double figures and Andrew Flintoff threatened briefly before departing for 22. Captain John Crawley and the left-handed Neil Fairbrother then revived Lancashire's flickering hopes with a partnership of 47.
But after Crawley was run out for 41 the innings rapidly folded, with a procession of wickets falling for just 107 runs in 32 overs. So Gloucestershire, whose skipper Mark Alleyne was made man of the match, will become the first side ever to compete in four consecutive Lord's finals.