FPT Semi-Final: Sussex 326-7 beat Gloucestershire 292 by 34 runs
Gloucestershire lost their Friends Provident semi-final as they failed to chase down Sussex's 326-7 as the pressure of chasing again got the better of them.
A large westcountry contingent were treated to a beautiful day, over 600 runs and two wonderful innings that almost ended with a miraculous Glos chase, but Sussex always seemed to hold the aces and went through to play Hampshire in the final.
Having scored over 300 batting first in the rained off group match, and seeing the straw coloured pitch and bare outfield, everyone was again totally bemused by Alex Gidman's decision to bowl first.
Gidman did attempt to redeem himself with a career-best 116 in reply, as he shared a 155 partnership with Hamish Marshall, the completely avoidably runout of whom, again proved the turning point.
Marshall late cut to short-third man and set off for the run, only to be sent back by Gidman who realised the shot had travelled straight to the fieldsman. The New Zealander turned but the throw beat him and the stand that was almost winning Glos the game came to an end.
Then came the difference between the sides; whereas Sussex recovered to produce further notable stands, the Shire lost their way, wickets tumbled and the required run-rate eventually got the better of them.
However, once again, it was Gidman's unusual decision to bowl that set up the predicament. Ed Joyce and Chris Nash made hay in the powerplay - the outfield was lightning and anything past the fielders simply raced away. Wickets would have stemmed the runs but the Sussex top three rebuilt excellently after Glos made a breakthrough, as the third wicket went down at 262.
Joyce was eventually run out for 146, however, when on 91 Vikram Banerjee claimed a catch on the boundary after tossing the ball in the air as he was about to fall over the rope before reclaiming it. Joyce walked, but then halfway there was informed that a television decision was required and duly gained a reprieve from the third umpire.
Granted the correct decision was made, but Joyce was happy to accept Banerjee's appeal until he was sent back by his balcony - the incident left a bad taste in the mouths of Glos supporters and was another example of an abuse of television coverage: had Sky not been present, Joyce would have walked and the remainder of the match may well have been different.