Yorkshire look to Harvey factor to fire drive to C&G final

Failure to qualify for the last eight of the Twenty20 Cup has only strengthened Yorkshire and Gloucestershire in their eagerness to reach the final of the Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy. The pair meet at Bristol in today's semi-final, with Yorkshire keen to see the Ian Harvey factor work in their favour.

Failure to qualify for the last eight of the Twenty20 Cup has only strengthened Yorkshire and Gloucestershire in their eagerness to reach the final of the Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy. The pair meet at Bristol in today's semi-final, with Yorkshire keen to see the Ian Harvey factor work in their favour.

The Australian all-rounder played a major part in establishing Gloucestershire as one-day kings, winning six trophies between 1999 and 2003, and today's encounter is a repeat of the 1999 semi-final, from which Yorkshire have particularly painful memories of him.

The match came down to the last over, with Yorkshire needing 12 runs to overhaul Gloucestershire's 240 for 7 and Harvey bowling to David Byas. As canny as ever with his variations of pace and trajectory, Harvey won the day, giving away only five runs.

Now the director of cricket at Headingley, Byas is delighted to have Harvey in his corner following his winter change of counties. The Australian's brilliant 108 in Wednesday's Twenty20 Cup defeat of Lancashire confirmed his well-being after a month out due to injury, after which Byas said: "I'm just pleased he is on our side this time."

For his part, Harvey has told his Yorkshire colleagues how he believes they can come out on top today. "The most important thing is to try to unsettle their bowlers," he said. "We have to be skilled and imaginative in our batting. Gloucestershire consistently save 20 to 30 runs in the field by being sharp and determined, and we cannot allow their fielders to get on top."

Yorkshire suffered a blow when a knee injury ruled out their captain, Craig White, while Gloucestershire's strength has been undermined by the enforced retirement of the wicketkeeper Jack Russell, although the arrival of the Australian Mike Hussey provides another weapon.

Harvey dismissed Graeme Hick for nought and then scored 61 off 36 balls in last year's final as Gloucestershire beat Worcestershire, who will be back at Lord's on 28 August if they can overcome Warwickshire in front of an expected 15,000 crowd in the other semi-final at Edgbaston.

Warwickshire prevailed when the Midlands rivals met at this stage in 1989, but Worcestershire, who beat Nick Knight's side in the Twenty20 Cup last week, are using the imminent retirement of their long-serving wicketkeeper, Steve Rhodes, as an extra incentive.

Their all-rounder David Leatherdale said: "Steve has the full set of medals with Worcestershire but it would be great to give him another in his final year. We also want to get to the final again because we didn't do ourselves justice last season."

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