Gloucestershire threw away yet another Twenty20 match this season, as Somerset twice staged fightbacks to win the westcountry derby at Bristol by three wickets, in perhaps the best Twenty20 match ever played at Nevil Road.
Thankfully, the fancy dress/facemask bonanza failed to materialise as once again Gloucestershire v Somerset sold itself, serving up a real cracker of a match in the late Bristol sunshine, although the spectacle was soured by a penalty-run fiasco before the start of the 19th over of the Somerset innings.
Despite a streaker, a few balls sent beyond the stands, and numerous umpire conferences over the state of the ball, the officials decided that the Shire had failed to bowl their overs in the allotted timescale - vigorously enforced by the Sky TV schedules. The penalty took Somerset to within four, robbing everyone of the tense 10 from 12 ball target that had been set up. Had Sky not been present, I have no doubts that over rate would never have been considered.
The home side dominated the opening 10 overs of both innings. Having gone at 12-an-over batting first, the Shire again lost wickets at bad times and the last 10 overs was a real scrap; James Franklin and David Brown playing very irresponsible shots given the situation, as Glos were bowled out in the 20th over.
For once, the powerplay fired Gloucestershire off to a great start. Kadeer Ali hit seven boundaries in 33 off 13 balls before Hamish Marshall and Will Porterfield continued the onslaught in a 63 stand. But the ridiculous run-out of Marshall proved the turning point in the innings, as the Shire failed to rebuild, and what should have been a score above 200 ended with 173.
With Langer, Trescothick, Hildreth and de Bruyn all dismissed with only 23 on the board, the game was pretty much up for Somerset. The home fans were off to the bar to toast another victory over their rivals, only to return from the long queues to have missed Peter Trego's powerful 49 from 26 balls which propelled the visitors back into the game.
Trego was dismissed with the required rate still 10-per-over, but no-one legislated for Craig Kieswetter's amazing ability to score big runs in TV matches. He played a phenomenal innings, exploiting Bristol's short straight boundaries and won Somerset the match with his 84 from 42 balls.
However, questions must be asked of the lengths that the Shire bowled. There were far too many length deliveries, and Kieswetter was able to swing through the line with regularity, in a game Gloucestershire will be glad was a dead rubber for them.