Weston puts the gloss on Spearman's flying start

Gloucestershire 314-4 v Warwickshire
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The Independent Online

With the first two days and a further 23 overs yesterday lost to the rain it was probably not so surprising that Gloucestershire, or more accurately, their former New Zealand Test and one-day batsman, set off at an incredible pace.

The way Craig Spearman launched himself into the fray suggested he was going to hit the fastest hundred ever. In fact, as things turned out, it was his more circumspect and patient partner, Phil Weston, who was rewarded, much later in the day, with a century - the 20th of his first-class career.

But Spearman's sprightly start might just have helped salvage a half decent contest and a positive finish from what is left. In that initial onslaught, Dewald Pretorius and Neil Carter were dispatched for 44 off the first seven overs, yet when they made way for Dougie Brown and Ian Bell there was little respite.

Then, as suddenly as it had begun, the deluge stopped. Spearman fell to Brown on 77, and the former Australian Test and one-day player Brad Hogg, who took the catch to dismiss him, temporarily wrested control from the batsmen with his left-arm Chinamen.

Only Weston read him well and he gradually reasserted himself, sharing in stands of 78 and 98 with Tim Hancock and Matt Windows, who both got into the 40s but no further. Weston, though, went on piling up the runs and bonus points, until he fell at the close. If the weather holds off, then Warwickshire may well have something to chase today.

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