Cricket: Gloucestershire handed home advantage

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The Independent Online
GLOUCESTERSHIRE HAVE been given a boost in their quest to reach a Lord's final for the first time in 22 years by gaining a home tie in the semi-finals of the inaugural Benson and Hedges Super Cup.

Mark Alleyne's side, who saw off the challenge of Surrey in the quarter finals on Sunday, have avoided the favourites Warwickshire and Yorkshire, and will play Sussex on Sunday 11 July.

The former Gloucestershire captain David Graveney, who is now England's chairman of selectors, believes his old county will welcome the draw. "Anybody, in a semi-final, wants to play at home and they would have probably wanted to avoid Warwickshire and Yorkshire," he said.

Graveney admitted that, with the World Cup taking precedent over the domestic game, the new Benson and Hedges competition for sides finishing in the top eight of last season's County Championship has taken a back- seat. "After the World Cup it's reasonably low-key but now all the players will see it as one step away from a showpiece final at Lord's," Graveney said.

Warwickshire host Yorkshire a day earlier, on 10 July, and the new England captain, Nasser Hussain, believes the pair are the strongest one- day sides in the country at the moment.

"Definitely," he said, after being asked if they were the top two sides. "They have probably played the best one-day cricket this season and Warwickshire have been the side to beat in one-day cricket over the last 10 years."

BENSON & HEDGES SUPER CUP Semi-final draw: Sat 10 July: Warwickshire v Yorkshire. Sun 11 July: Gloucestershire v Sussex.

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