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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 August, 2004, 17:47 GMT 18:47 UK
Worcs no match for close rivals
Jonathan Agnew
By Jonathan Agnew
BBC cricket correpondent

Craig Spearman
Spearman looks a very impressive player in this form of the game

For the second successive year, Gloucestershire gave their close rivals Worcestershire a spanking to lift the C&G Trophy for the fourth time in six years.

One-sided limited-overs matches quickly become tedious, and the large Lord's crowd found it difficult to raise enthusiasm once the game had fizzled out half way through Gloucestershire's innings.

By then, Craig Spearman and the underrated Phil Weston had broken the back of the chase, and only a spectacular collapse could possibly alter the course of the game.

Given the way in which Worcestershire's seamers performed, that simply was not going to happen.

Andy Bichel and Andrew Hall, Worcester's overseas bowlers, were both dreadfully disappointing.

It was left to the spinners, Gareth Batty and Ray Price, to create some pressure by dismissing Spearman for 70 and Mike Hussey for 20.

Spearman looks a very impressive player in this form of the game.

The innings of the day was played by Vikram Solanki

He likes to get to the leg-side of the ball, which frees up his powerful off-side strokes, and when the bowler tries to tuck him up, he is flicked through mid-wicket.

But this technique makes him fallible in Test cricket.

His average from 19 Tests for New Zealand is only 26, and I would not mind betting that he was dismissed, predominately, through catches behind the wicket. This is because he does not move his feet to bring his head in line with the ball.

Weston played a perfectly paced innings and he is the perfect foil for the big-hitting Spearman.

Just as the bowler would relax because Spearman was at the non-striker's end, Weston unleashed thumping drives through the covers or straight down the ground.

The innings of the day, however, was played by Vikram Solanki, who warmed up for his return to England's one-day team by scoring an excellent century.

The most impressive aspect was his patience. Normally, Solanki is a free-scoring player, but when Jon Lewis reduced Worcestershire to 8-3, it was clear he had to dig in.

David Leatherdale joined him for the salvage operation, and together they put on 194 for the fourth wicket to take Worcester to 201-4.

Bichel played some big shots, hitting a couple of sixes on his way to 19, but the lower order fell away as James Averis took a unique hat-trick, spread over two overs, to give Gloucestershire a run-chase that was never likely to test them.


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