Cricket: Absent friend fires up Reeve for final: Derek Hodgson looks forward to today's NatWest semi-finals

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THE name of one man is banned from all conversation in the Warwickshire dressing-room as they prepare for today's NatWest Trophy semi-final against Somerset at Taunton. Dermot Reeve, the captain, has forbidden all mention of the Bears' overseas professional, Allan Donald, the fastest bowler in county cricket, recalled by South Africa for pre-tour training.

'I don't want to hear any 'if onlys',' Reeve said. The implication is that Reeve believes his attack, led by Gladstone Small and with Tim Munton hoping to be clear of a hip strain, is still capable of taking the team to a Lord's final after two recent disappointments.

Reeve is worried about the wicketkeeper, Keith Piper, who has a fractured finger, and that mercurial all-rounder Paul Smith, who has a trapped nerve in his left elbow.

Somerset are unchanged which means that Dennis Amiss, in his dual role as England selector and Warwickshire cricket chairman, will see at first-hand how those England rejects, Mark Lathwell and Andrew Caddick, have reacted.

The sentimentalists are calling for a Somerset-Glamorgan final and those counties will start favourites this morning. Glamorgan's descent on Hove for the match against Sussex will bring the first threat of a Welsh invasion since the days of Owen Glendower. Hugh Morris, leading a team who could still conceivably win the Britannic Championship, the NatWest Trophy and the AXA-Equity Sunday League, declared: 'Glamorgan cricket has never been so healthy.' Matthew Maynard hopes to play, despite a hairline knuckle fracture. Andrew Jones, son of Alan, the former Glamorgan opener stands by.

Viv Richards postponed a flight back to Antigua, to attend his father's funeral, until Thursday. The former West Indies captain sees a possible last appearance at Lord's as a fitting and final end to his career.

Sussex welcome back the West Indies all-rounder, Franklyn Stephenson, He returns after being rested in the Championship match against Worcestershire but there is no place for fit-again Colin Wells or the 22- year-old all-rounder, John North.

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