Gladiators out for revenge
Jon Lewis and his Gloucestershire players are in the mood to make amends when they collide with Twenty20 Cup rivals Somerset at the County Ground today (5.30).
Still smarting from a humiliating 117-run defeat at Taunton last week, the Glo'sters are determined to put the record straight in front of a sell-out crowd of nearly 8,000. "We took a lot of stick in the media and from our supporters after that game," recalled Lewis. "That definitely gives the rematch an extra edge and we'll be looking to revenge what was a horrible defeat.
"Our supporters will expect us to put one over on Somerset and, given that the game is at Bristol, the boot will be on the other foot this time."
Gloucestershire have won both their home games in the Midland, Wales and West group and victory tonight will put them on the brink of the quarter-finals and effectively terminate Somerset's chances of progressing.
Lewis said: "We've shown tremendous character to bounce back from that Taunton defeat and things have changed dramatically within the group since then.
"We are well placed and on a bit of a roll, while Somerset are now at the bottom and struggling.
"This is a massive game, we could not wish for a bigger incentive. Win it and we will have one foot in the last eight."
Lewis believes he has located a weakness in tonight's opponents and he and fellow strike bowler Carl Greenidge will be targeting Somerset's much-vaunted top-order.
"Their first three batsmen are very strong, but they are top-heavy, " said Lewis.
"If you can knock over one or two early on, you can expose the middle order.
"They have a bit of a soft under-belly and that is something we exposed when we beat them in the County Championships at Bristol earlier in the season.
"We're playing some very good cricket at home and I'm convinced we will see a different game this time."
Meanwhile, Somerset coach Andy Hurry admits his side's hopes of reaching the quarter-finals are all but over - but says his players would love to stop Gloucestershire reaching the last eight.
"Local pride is a massive factor," he said. "If you can't get motivated to play in these games, then you're in the wrong job.
"Mathematically we still have a chance in this competition but realistically we appreciate it will be very difficult for us to qualify.
"But the league standings don't have any baring on this match whatsoever - we just want to get out there and turn our local rivals over.
"We'd love to stop Gloucestershire getting that quarter-final place.
"It's a good forecast, there will be a good crowd in and there's a lot riding on the game for them. But there's also a lot riding on the game for us - there's a lot of pride and I want to see some passion from the boys."
Hurry is calling for an all-round improvement from his players, who he conceded had, at times, been suffering from low morale.
"We felt that we competed very well in the three games after the first Gloucestershire game," said the Somerset coach.
"The draw at Northants and also the one-run defeat at Glamorgan were two games we should have won.
"Sometimes when you lose games in those tight situations it can be hard work to keep the players believing they can still do it.
"The lads are thoroughly disappointed at the outcome of the last three games, but they all believe that we can do a job and beat the Glos'ters."
Hurry said Somerset would select this evening's side from the same 13 who prepared for Wednesday's defeat by Northants.
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