Spearman casts spell to book another place in final

Gloucestershire's five-wicket victory over Yorkshire in the semi-final of the Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy highlighted just why England are finding it so difficult to produce quality one-day cricketers.

Gloucestershire's five-wicket victory over Yorkshire in the semi-final of the Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy highlighted just why England are finding it so difficult to produce quality one-day cricketers. Saturday's match, supposedly being played between two of domestic cricket's leading limited-over sides, was dominated by two players unavailable to David Graveney and his fellow selectors.

Yorkshire's Matthew Wood, Michael Lumb and Michael Vaughan, the England captain, all made encouraging starts but each failed to go on to play a match-winning innings. That the visitors posted a challenging total was down to their Australian, Darren Lehmann, who batted in a typically proficient manner throughout his unbeaten innings of 80.

On this occasion, however, Lehmann was completely upstaged by Craig Spearman, a New Zealander, who took Gloucestershire to another Lord's final with a brilliant 143 not out. They will play Worcestershire in a repeat of last year's C&G showpiece.

European law and a few particles of Welsh blood allow the former Test opener to play in England as a non-overseas player, even though he is unavailable to the national selectors. There are many cricketers who have used this route to earn a living here but few have given as much as Spearman, whose presence in the county game has been good for cricket. Yorkshire's bowlers, who were flogged all round Nevil Road, may be reluctant to agree but following this display from the 32-year-old right-hander they will have to admit his presence raises the standard of domestic one-day cricket.

Spearman's 122-ball innings was as close to perfection as you will see in this form of the game. He would have realised that Yorkshire's total of 243 would usually be good enough for a win at Bristol. The pitches here tend to get harder to bat on as the game progresses and the ball gets softer.

Spearman attacked the new ball, and in particular Tim Bresnan, the weaker of Yorkshire's opening bowlers. In Bresnan's first over he struck the medium-pacer for two fours and in his second he clipped him twice over square leg for six. Matthew Hoggard was the pick of Yorkshire's attack, but the first delivery of his next over also disappeared over the deep square leg boundary for six.

Ninety-two runs were scored during the first 15 overs - while fielding restrictions were in place - which meant the holders never had to worry about the run-rate. After that Spearman took the easy runs that were available and punished the bad balls, of which there were far too many from a line-up containing six international bowlers.

Wood, the Yorkshire captain, constantly changed his attack and introduced his spinners early. But Spearman swept and reverse-swept Richard Dawson and Lehmann and by the end they must have wondered whether they were bowling at a right or left-hander.

His hundred came up off the 84th delivery he faced and it was fitting that he scored the winning runs with 23 balls of the game remaining.

News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
Sport
sport
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
News
Jermain Defoe got loads of custard
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape