Franklin shines in forlorn cause
James Franklin and Chris Taylor both hit centuries as Gloucestershire emphatically saw off Northamptonshire, but it was not enough to earn them a last-four spot in the Clydesdale Bank 40.
Needing a win and Essex to lose, the Gladiators did their bit with a comfortable 82-run win at Wantage Road, only for James Foster’s men to comfortably see off Yorkshire.
Franklin and Taylor combined for a partnership of 207 after they had come together with their side struggling on 61 for three before four wickets from David Payne ripped the heart out of the hosts’ batting line-up in reply.
Gloucestershire won the toss and elected to bat but a slow start saw them lose both openers in quick succession, with the score on 19, inside the first five overs.
First to go in the fourth over was skipper Alex Gidman, who was caught by David Sales off Northants captain Andrew Hall for 12.
Then in the very next over, fellow opener Will Porterfield offered a loose shot to a ball from David Lucas that was taken by Hall at first slip.
After their somewhat shaky start, the visitors then steadied the ship, with Hamish Marshall and Franklin putting on 42 for the third wicket before the former was brilliantly run out in the 12th over by Mal Loye from long-on for 23.
Franklin was then joined at the crease by Taylor and the pair stayed together for the duration.
Franklin, who finished unbeaten on 108, hit six fours and two sixes while Taylor, in 105, smacked 14 fours in his maiden one-day century before being caught off Gavin Baker from the very last ball of the innings.
Gloucestershire then got off to the perfect start with the ball, taking two early wickets.
The Steelbacks’ opening stand was just 14 before Rob Newton was trapped lbw in the third over by Steve Kirby for four.
Number three David Sales then lasted just four deliveries before throwing his wicket away for a duck in the next over, as he chipped a ball from Jon Lewis straight to Gidman at mid-wicket.
Alex Wakely was next to go for 12 in the 15th over, sending a catch straight to Ed Young at mid-wicket off Payne.
The hosts received a further blow five overs later when opener Mal Loye, who had been the backbone of their innings up until that point, was given out lbw for 43 attempting a reverse sweep to former Steelback Richard Dawson to leave them struggling on 69 for four.
Hall and Middlebrook got starts before getting out, while Stephen Peters offered stubborn resistance for Northants as he passed 50 in what turned out to be an anti-climactic finish.