Gloucestershire 181 for 2 (Hammond 109*) beat Lancashire 177 (Aspinwall 47) by eight wickets
Lancashire’s bowlers simply had no answer as Hammond helped himself to six sixes and 11 fours in a whirlwind 85-ball knock, while Price contributed 39 in 43 balls to help Gloucestershire secure a last-four showdown against Leicestershire at the Grace Road next Tuesday.
Hammond’s innings was made all the more remarkable because he has spent most of the last month running drinks for Birmingham Phoenix in the Hundred. He did not make an appearance for them all season, though was released to play two group games for Gloucestershire.
Two sixes off the 13th over from Hammond with the second landing on the third floor of the Ashley Down Road flats
Glos require 95 runs to win.^( ^(
— Gloucestershire Cricket (@Gloscricket)^(
Gloucestershire’s bowlers had earlier set-up a fifth consecutive win in the 50-over competition, dismissing the Lancashire for a wholly inadequate 177 in 44.3 overs. David Payne, Paul van Meekeren, Anwar Ali and Price all claimed two wickets.
Given that rain was forecast later in the day, Keaton Jennings’ decision to bat first raised more than a few eyebrows inside the Seat Unique Stadium, and Lancashire’s captain must surely have been questioning his judgment when his side slumped to 90 for 7 inside 24 overs.
Although the slow nature of a pitch used 12 days earlier for the visit of Somerset offered a degree of mitigation, there was no excusing the lax manner in which the visitors contributed to their own downfall, too many batters falling to ill-judged forcing shots when the situation demanded circumspection.
At least Jennings did not fall into that category, Lancashire’s batting talisman succumbing to an excellent delivery from Payne, who provided the Gloucestershire attack with a welcome cutting edge as he returned from Hundred duty with Welsh Fire. Soon after, George Bell nervously edged a catch behind off Tom Price and Dane Villas top-edged a pull to midwicket and fell to van Meekeren while the shine remained on the ball.
Ollie Price then lured George Balderson onto the front foot and took a straightforward return catch, while George Lavelle was bowled by Anwar Ali via an inside edge before rain intervened with Lancashire teetering on 84 for 5, their prospects now heavily dependent upon opening batter Luke Wells.
But Wells failed to add to his 33 runs, attempting to play Price to midwicket and being expertly stumped by James Bracey in the first over following the resumption.
And worse followed when Matthew Hurst played back to van Meekeren and was pinned lbw in his crease, at which point Lancashire’s recognised batters were back in the pavilion and Aspinwall and Bailey were required to pick up the pieces. In no position to take risks, these two settled for finding the gaps and running hard between the wickets, a strategy that enabled them to at least stage a recovery of sorts.
Having surpassed his previous highest score of 22, Aspinwall hoisted Tom Price over midwicket for six in a rare show of aggression to bring up the 50 partnership. But Gloucestershire remained patient and were finally rewarded when Bailey pulled Anwar to midwicket and departed for 29.
Aspinwall scored 47 in 71 balls and dominated a stand of 75 in 17.3 overs with Bailey for the eighth wicket, but fell in the next over, steering a ball from van Meekeren to point and setting off in pursuit of a risky single, only to be run out by Ollie Price.
Jack Morley’s dismissal summed up Lancashire’s innings, the last man offering the meekest of return catches to Payne as Lancashire were shot out with 5.3 overs unused.
Defending a modest total, Lancashire needed to take early wickets, and Bailey obliged when bowling Bracey for 12 in the fourth over with the score on 21. But any thoughts of a spirited fightback were quickly extinguished as Hammond and new batter Ollie Price set about reaffirming Gloucestershire’s dominance in a forthright stand that took the game away from Lancashire.
When seam failed to muster a breakthrough, skipper Jennings turned to spin, only for Morley to be severely mauled by Hammond, who struck him for a straight six in the eleventh before plundering 16 off his next over. Hammond’s fifth four, a reverse-sweep at the expense of Wells, took him to 50 in 45 balls, and he meted out similar treatment to Balderson, who was hoisted over deep mid-wicket for six as the home side realised three figures inside 15 overs.
In outstanding form, Price scored at almost a run a ball despite playing second fiddle to Hammond, who showed every intention of completing the task in hand before the predicted early evening rain could arrive. By the time Price was caught at the wicket off Bell’s offbreaks, Gloucestershire were just about home and dry.
Having eclipsed his previous highest score of 95, made against Sussex in 2019, Hammond raised his hundred via 82 balls, straight driving Aspinwall for his ninth four to bring an enthusiastic Bristol crowd to its feet.