Spearman hits out to light up dying match
Middlesex 253-8 dec Gloucestershire 347 & 400-7 Match drawn
Saturday 07 August 2004
A faint pulse could be discerned on the final day of this otherwise lifeless match which was meandering gently to an inevitable draw.
Craig Spearman was the man who managed to inject a little adrenalin into the contest by scoring by far its most entertaining innings. Ajit Agarkar's two wickets in five balls did give everyone an early morning jolt, but he only served to raise false hopes.
Spearman's innings was the real tonic. It was a pity the New Zealander had been unable to get going first time around. If he had, this match might have had a more meaningful conclusion.
As it was, with the cushion of a 94-run first innings lead thanks to Ben Hutton's declaration the evening before - a gesture only since there was never going to be enough time for Gloucestershire to set a realistic target - Spearman managed to raise the tempo of what had been a soporific and rain-ruined match.
In his three hours at the crease Spearman entertained with his big hits and huge slices of luck. There was even an element of farce to his innings when, on 57, the Auckland-born batsman skied a ball from Melvyn Betts. Four players - among them the wicketkeeper David Nash, whose catch it should have been, Paul Weekes and the bowler - converged on the estimated dropping zone, which was around backward point.
Weekes yelled for the ball, Nash hesitated, Betts pulled up, Weekes lunged and plunged to the ground and the ball rolled safely out of his grasp. And Spearman had another chunk of luck on 88, when Simon Cook spilled a straightforward chance at deep square-leg. That was off Jamie Dalrymple. The next ball was dispatched over mid-wicket for the second of Spearman's two sixes - his first one, a pick-up into the Tavern Stand, had taken him to his fifty.
Sadly for the sparse crowd Spearman fell soon after reaching three figures - his third century of the season and ninth in all for Gloucestershire - having shared in a 170-run stand for the third wicket with Chris Taylor.
Taylor, Gloucestershire's captain, cracked a good-looking, if less dramatic, 91 and was joined by Alex Gidman. The 23-year-old carried on the good work with a breezy half century of his own which in a way outdid Spearman, in that it contained three sixes.
But at the close the only winner was the weather, which had robbed the match of 91 overs in all.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
Germany vs Argentina World Cup final 2014: Five reasons why Argentina will win the World Cup
World Cup Final 2014: Choosing between Germany and Argentina is an impossible choice
Luke Shaw arrives a week early for Manchester United pre-season training after cutting short post-World Cup holiday
PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
Luis Suarez joins Barcelona: Wilfried Bony, Karim Benzema and the other transfer targets Liverpool should look to replace Suarez with
- 2 Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber pass £170,000 on eBay
- 3 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 5 The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’