Competition best performances from Ian Harvey and Philip Weston took Gloucestershire to a resounding five-wicket victory over Warwickshire here. The win, with 55 balls remaining, was as emphatic as the scores suggest and takes Gloucestershire into the semi-finals of the Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy for the first time since 2000, the year they won all three domestic one-day competitions. Following this impressive all-round display, and a home draw in the semis, it would take a brave man to bet against the West Country side reaching another Lord's final.
Gloucestershire's victory may have been sealed with a stylish and responsible innings of 88 not out from Weston but it was the bowling of Harvey that ensured his side were only chasing 205. Playing in just his second game for Gloucestershire since returning from Australia's tour of the Caribbean, Harvey was involved in each of the first three wickets to fall. Two came because of his lively medium-pace bowling and the third, in between, from a marvellous piece of fielding at short mid-wicket.
Picking up a firm Nick Knight flick the Victorian turned sharply and threw down the stumps at the non-striker's end, leaving Ian Bell stranded. This hat-trick put Warwickshire on the back foot at 30 for 3. It was a position from which the home side never managed to recover despite an entertaining partnership of 92 between Knight and the England new boy, James Troughton.
The young apprentice benefited from batting with Knight, whose experience kept Troughton calm for most of his innings except for two big sixes off the spin of Martyn Ball. After completing a half-century Troughton was deceived by a slower ball from Mike Smith. It was when Knight departed, though, 12 short of a century, that Warwickshire's innings fell apart against Harvey's awesome variety of slower balls. In nine balls he took three wickets for a solitary run and finished with figures of 5 for 23.
Warwickshire needed to strike early and they did when Craig Spearman chopped Waqar Younis on to his stumps. Harvey came in at three, cut a six, then fell to an irresponsible slog at Ashley Giles but Weston, the only Englishman in Gloucestershire's top four, quietly and efficiently went about his business.
It was his driving through the covers that stood out and but for a quick-fire 22 off 11 balls from Alex Gidman at the end, the left-hander would have scored the century his efforts deserved.
C & G TROPHY Semi-final draw: Gloucestershire v Derbyshire; Worcestershire v Lancashire (One match to be played on Thursday 7 August, the other on Saturday 9 August).Reuse content