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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before