Cricket: Lewis takes exhausted Somerset bowling apart

Gloucestershire 234-7 Somerset 208 Gloucestershire win by 26 runs
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Gloucestershire 234-7 Somerset 208 Gloucestershire win by 26 runs

JON LEWIS continued his fine start to the season, smashing 33 runs off just 13 balls, including two sixes, as Gloucestershire beat Somerset in the Benson and Hedges Cup at Bristol.

Coming in at No 9 after Gloucestershire had been asked to bat first, the paceman boosted his team to 234 for 7 off their 50 overs. He then chipped in with two for 49 to clinch the man-of-the-match award as Somerset crashed to 110 for seven before rallying to 208 all out.

Somerset must have felt pleased with their bowling effort up to the 46th over, when Gloucestershire were 183 for 6 But the captain, Peter Bowler, had mistakenly bowled out his main attack and saw the last four overs despatched for 51, mainly by Lewis and Matt Windows (24).

The medium-pacers Marcus Trescothick, Keith Parsons and Mike Burns all came in for punishment, and the final total was 30 more than Gloucestershire might have expected.

Tony Wright top-scored with a patient 44 and there were important contributions from Bobby Dawson and Rob Cunliffe, who both made 31.

The Somerset coach, Dermot Reeve, bowled a tidy 10-over spell of one for 29, but the Pakistan leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed, making his seasonal debut, went for 50 off his 10.

The visitors were never in the hunt after Bowler played on to Mike Smith, who produced the best bowling of the day to take two for 17 from 10 overs.

Bowler's departure left Somerset 28 for one and they were soon 56 for 4 as Piran Holloway, Richard Harden and Mike Burns fell in quick succession.

Harden looked less than happy with his dismissal, adjudged caught behind down the leg side by Jack Russell after he had made eight.

Graham Rose and Rob Turner took the score to 99, before Rose swung wildly at Mark Alleyne and had his stumps shattered for 31.

That provided the breakthrough as Somerset slipped to 110 for seven, before rallying through Reeve and the left-hander Trescothick.

Their eighth-wicket stand of 61 in nine overs produced a glimmer of hope, but the required run-rate had risen above nine an over when Reeve was bowled swinging across the line at Lewis.