Cricket: Pennies from heaven

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Somerset 193 Gloucestershire 67-0 Gloucestershire win by 10 wickets under D-L system.

AN OLD lady arrived just before 11am. She did not actually enquire if Dr Grace was playing but was reportedly miffed to learn that the match - to be played under floodlights with a steel band, a fire-eater and a unicyclist - was not to start until 5pm.

Gloucestershire, however, can laugh all the way to the bank. This Axa League match cost about pounds 40,000 to stage, but with the help of a sponsor the county will pocket around pounds 30,000 from a near sell-out attendance of more than 7,500, who sat stoically through intermittent drizzle.

Somerset, with a game in hand, are still hopeful of making next year's First Division, but were 16 for 3 when Graham Rose arrived to join Marcus Trescothick and made a well measured 59 off 79 balls.

Gloucestershire's reply was delayed so long by the rain that the dreaded "Vera" formula came into play. According to the Duckworth-Lewis system, their target, at 9.30, was 117 off 18 overs on a sodden pitch and outfield; when the rain returned almost immediately Somerset, handling a wet ball, missed two chances.

With 23 off four overs, difficult to follow on a darkened scoreboard, Gloucestershire were handily placed until further rain made cricket farcical but, at 10.15, the new target became 44 off 36 balls.

Rob Turner, the Somerset keeper, sent for a helmet after taking a skidding ball in the face before Bobby Dawson, with a successive four and a six, helped take 15 off one over from Michael Burns, leaving a comfortable four needed off the last over.