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REPORT & HIGHLIGHTS: Finch hits unbeaten half-century but Sharks are beaten at Cheltenham


Harry Finch hit an unbeaten 87 for Sussex but the Sharks were beaten by 51 runs today in the Royal London One-Day Cup at Cheltenham.

In a match billed as must-win for both teams, the hosts posted 242 for 8 after losing the toss, Michael Klinger contributing 46 and Tom Smith 43 not out. Chris Jordan claimed 3 for 55 and leg-spinner Will Beer 2 for 38.

In reply the Sharks could manage only 191 all out, despite an excellent unbeaten 87 from 21-year-old Finch, left-arm spinner Smith taking 4 for 26 from his ten overs.

The result took the holders to four points from five games, while Sussex remain on two.

Gloucestershire lost wickets too regularly to ever gain much momentum to their innings. Chris Dent had already been dropped when falling early on for ten and it was 49 for 2 when Ian Cockbain was caught behind for eight in the ninth over.

Hamish Marshall’s disappointing last Cheltenham Festival ended when he was bowled off inside edge by Jordan for 11 before Beer struck a major blow in the 22nd over.

Klinger had looked in prime form moving to 46 off 66 balls, with 6 fours, when adjudged lbw pushing forward.

Beer also removed Benny Howell for 19 and when Graeme van Buuren was bowled by Jordan for 38 off another inside edge Gloucestershire were becalmed on 155 for 6 in the 35th over.

Kieran Noema-Barnett (29) hit the only six of the innings over mid-wicket off Danny Briggs, but it was Smith who did most to bolster the total, facing 46 balls and hitting 3 fours. Young wicketkeeper Patrick Grieshaber contributed a bright 20 at the death.

Soon, however, the home bowlers were striking back. Ed Joyce mistimed a back-foot shot to be caught at mid-wicket off Matt Taylor and when Craig Miles had Phil Salt caught behind it was 19 for 2.

Luke Wright departed for 18, caught at mid-on before Chris Nash was bowled off a bottom edge by Smith for six, but Finch and Ben Brown than gave Sussex hope with a stand of 70 in 19.4 overs before Brown, on 39, square drove Howell to Cockbain at backward point.

When Smith had Chris Jordan caught behind for 14, Sussex were left needing 84 off the last ten overs with four wickets in hand.

Smith took a caught and bowled at full tilt after Jofra Archer had skied the ball back over his head and had Ajmal Shahzad well held at deep mid-wicket by Dent.

Beer was run out and when last man Briggs was bowled by Howell, it left Finch, who faced 115 balls and hit 8 fours and a six, high and dry after a fine personal effort.

Finch said, "We are very disappointed. At the halfway stage we felt we had bowled and fielded really well to restrict them to 20 or 30 below par.

"It wasn't easy in the middle overs because the ball was turning and sticking in the pitch for their seamers. From 59 for 4 it was always going to be difficult.

"I have been happy with my form all season and feel I am playing well at the moment. As a team we aren't far off, but it is clearly going to be hard to qualify now. We just have to treat our last three group matches as cup finals, win them all and see what happens."

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