Friends Provident Trophy - Semi Final
Sussex 326-7 (E C Joyce 146, M W Goodwin 60) v Gloucestershire 292 (A P R Gidman 116, H J H Marshall 57, M H Yardy 4-54)
Sussex beat Gloucestershire by 34 runs
Sussex opener Ed Joyce struck the highest Friends Provident trophy score of the season to inspire his side to a 34-run victory over Gloucestershire in the semi-final at Hove.
The left-hander strengthened his claims for an England recall with a career-best 146 to propel the Sharks towards 326-7 - a total the home side defended despite an equally destructive 116 from Gloucestershire skipper Alex Gidman.
When Gidman departed in the 41st over, 75 runs short of the victory target, the Gladiators let the required rate slip above nine-an-over before Sussex captain Mike Yardy sealed victory when he dismissed last man Steve Kirby.
However, the biggest talking point will be Gidman's decision to bowl first after winning the toss at the start of the day.
Openers Joyce and Chris Nash (32) immediately exploited the perfect batting conditions with a breezy 62-run stand before Kirby struck with a beautifully disguised slower ball which clipped the latter's off-stump.
England all-rounder Luke Wright came to the middle next and smashed 36 off 34 balls, however his entertaining stay was brought to an end when he picked out James Franklin on the mid-wicket fence off the bowling of Richard Dawson.
But the punishing stand came when Joyce and Murray Goodwin combined to add 144 in 20 overs for the third wicket with Goodwin contributing 60 before he fell in the 39th over, bowled by Jon Lewis.
At that stage Sussex were on course for a total in excess of 350 but Gloucestershire clawed their way back into the game with four wickets for 57 runs as Sussex's big hitters perished in the pursuit of quick runs.
Joyce was eventually run out coming back for a second by Kirby's direct hit from long off after facing 139 balls and hitting 13 fours and three sixes.
After the early departure of Kadeer Ali (5), Gidman and Hamish Marshall had silenced a boisterous 6,500 crowd with a stand of 155 in 25 overs which kept the Gladiators well up with an asking rate of 6.5 runs per over.
Marshall had struck a typically elegant 57 off 69 balls when he was run out by Joyce after Gidman refused his call for a risky single to short third man.
Two overs later Rory Hamilton-Brown trapped the dangerous Craig Spearman for two as the momentum shifted in Sussex's favour.
Chris Taylor (25) lost his middle stump to Yasir Arafat but it was Yardy's left-arm spin which did the real damage in the closing overs as Gloucestershire's last six wickets fell for 40 in 6.4 overs.
Yardy finished with 4-54 including Franklin and Kirby off successive balls to finish off Gloucestershire for 292 and seal a 10th Lord's final appearance for Sussex.