Spearman squeezes the life out of Middlesex

Gloucestershire 239-9 Middlesex 223-8
(Gloucs win by 16 runs)

Craig Spearman has developed a liking for Middlesex's bowlers. Only last week the Gloucestershire opener scored the small matter of 341 runs against the county in a championship match at Gloucester. And yesterday, in the quarter finals of the Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy, he was at it again.

Craig Spearman has developed a liking for Middlesex's bowlers. Only last week the Gloucestershire opener scored the small matter of 341 runs against the county in a championship match at Gloucester. And yesterday, in the quarter finals of the Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy, he was at it again.

On this occasion the former New Zealand batsman fell 279 short of his record breaking score for Gloucestershire but it was his rapid first-wicket partnership of 118 with Philip Weston which enabled Mark Alleyne's side to ease their way into the semi-finals, where they will be at home to Yorkshire.

The winning margin of 16 runs flatters Middlesex because last years winners of the Trophy controlled this game throughout. Andrew Strauss was lured into fielding first by the green tinge of the pitch but it quickly proved to be the wrong decision. The Middlesex captain should have looked at the ends rather than the middle, which were dry and dusty. This would have told him that this surface was only going to get harder to bat on, especially against the spinners.

Strauss was not helped by his seamers who failed to apply any early pressure. Spearman hits anything over-pitched straight past the bowlers and is quick to pick anything slightly short up over square-leg.

It was Weston's, rather than Spearman's, innings which highlighted the shortcomings of Middlesex's attack. Weston is a far more limited player but he raced to 50 before his partner. The left-hander did not go after the bowling but waited for the bad ball to come along.

Their partnership ended in the 20th over when Middlesex's two spinners started bowling in tandem. Weston top edged Paul Weekes to Ben Hutton at short fine-leg and this dismissal started a collapse which saw the home side lose five wickets for 27 runs in eight overs.

Spearman was run out by Alex Gidman, who then proceeded to chip a difficult chance back to Jamie Dalrymple and Chris Taylor was carelessly run-out and Alleyne weakly chipped one to mid-wicket. But Shoaib Malik and Martyn Ball, through sensible batting, ensured Gloucester reached a competitive total.

Middlesex realised they had to make the most of the new ball, for it was against it that run scoring would be at its easiest. Strauss and Weekes began positively but both fell to excellent catches at first slip by Spearman, the man-of-the-match. Chad Keegan scored a breezy 24 before he top edged a pull shot to the same man, now positioned at deep mid-wicket.

Ed Joyce and Dalrymple gave Middlesex's supporters hope but the required run-rate kept climbing. In these sort of situations there is no better side than Gloucester. Like a python they slowly wrap themselves around their opponents and squeeze the life out of them.

With Middlesex requiring nearly eight runs an over Alleyne came in for the kill. The Gloucestershire captain took three wickets in consecutive overs before some strong hitting by Simon Cook. For Middlesex it was small consolation.

News
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
food + drink
Life and Style
fashionLidl to launch a new affordable fashion range
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment