By Neil Fissler
Mark Alleyne laughs as he remembers Gloucestershire proving the critics wrong when they completed a one-day clean sweep as the world entered the new millennium.
Alleyne had led Gloucestershire to a NatWest Trophy and Benson & Hedges Cup double in 1999 but critics played down the achievement because of a shortened competition.
But the county were in a mood to set the record straight and in 2000 they became the first county to win three successive Lord’s finals after retaining the Benson & Hedges Cup.
They knocked off the 225 to beat Glamorgan and booked a return to Lord’s in the NatWest Trophy where they would face Warwickshire.
Warwickshire chalked up 205-7 off 50 overs in a rain-affected match and in reply Gloucestershire reached 122-3 off 29.4.
Ian Harvey’s 47 off 60 balls and Kim Barnett’s 45 took them passed the Duckworth/Lewis target of 101 off 29.4 overs before the rain came and play was called off.
Gloucestershire then went and won the rebranded Sunday League known as the Norwich Union National League Division One by two points from Yorkshire and Northamptonshire.
Alleyne said: “The first year when we won the double, there was some talk that it wasn’t the real double because the Benson & Hedges was shortened because it was World Cup year in England.
“So, effectively, we only won four matches to win the trophy so some of the counties, like Lancashire, were talking about it not being the real double.
“So, it was really rewarding to go back the next year and win the ‘real’ double. But some of the cheeky Gloucestershire supporters said that wasn’t the real double either, it’s the treble.”
Gloucestershire had long been seen as a backwater county by the so-called big boys although Alleyne says that it wasn’t a feeling shared by the Gloucestershire dressing room.
Alleyne added: “When you play for Gloucestershire you are not really aware of this. Because when I was in that changing room and with the players around me we felt as big a county as anyone else.
“It is just a lot of talk from people outside of the county obviously having a vested interest and bigging up their own county.
“But there was never a small county feel about any Gloucestershire side that I played in especially in 2000 when we won all the one-day trophies.
“We had a lot of desire and some very skilful players who were very good at one-day cricket and absolutely loved it.
“I could never have not backed Gloucestershire back then. I looked around our changing room and I saw people who could contribute massively and help us get over the line.”
BACK ROW (left-right):
Keith Gerrish: The scorer for 15 years stepped down in March 2011 and is now living in retirement in Bristol.
Jeremy Snape: A former ODI and t20 England all-rounder has become a leading sports psychologist and has also worked as a performance coach in the IPL and Big Bash.
James Averis: Seam bowler who also played rugby for Bristol is now a housemaster and geography teacher at Clifton College prep school.
Jon Lewis: England bowler who retired from playing last November to become the bowling coach at Sussex where he ended his career.
Mike Cawdron: All-rounder master in charge of rackets at Haileybury School since retiring in 2004 where he is also a maths teacher.
Dominic Hewson: Batsman based in Cheltenham where he has run Float Seating, a company specialising in selling large beanbags. He then imported oriental art.
Chris Taylor: Batsman who was the first player to score a century on his debut at Lord’s. After retiring he went into coaching and is the lead fielding coach for the ECB.
Matt Windows: Middle order batsman whose father Tony also played for Gloucestershire. He is now an investment manager and private banker at Barclays Wealth.
Mike Smith: Swing bowler who won one Test cap for England and since 2007 has been an employment solicitor at Bevan Brittan in Bristol.
Kim Barnett: Batsman whose career spanned 25 years. Lives in Leek and has worked for a luxury car hire firm. Has also coached Staffordshire CCC.
Mark Alleyne: Former England one-day international captain. Coached at Gloucestershire and at the National Performance Centre at Loughborough before becoming MCC head coach in 2009.
Tim Hancock: Batsman who has run the Stroud and South Gloucestershire College’s cricket academy and worked at Colston’s School. Now head of performance for Gloucestershire’s Cricket Board.
Jack Russell: England wicket keeper who travels the world as an artist and runs the Jack Russell Gallery in Chipping Sodbury, South Gloucestershire.
Martyn Ball: Spinner still based in Bristol. Since retiring in 2006 has been a director of B4 Developments which specialises in luxury golf-related real estate.
Ian Harvey: Former Australian all-rounder. Lives in Bristol and can be seen working as a pundit for Sky Sports on their cricket coverage.
Ben Gannon: Seamer is now commercial sports manager at Wycliffe College and has been business development manager for Red Rainbow Cricket.
Mark Hardinges: All-rounder now teaches economics at Malvern College, where he is also master in charge of cricket.
Robert Cunliffe: Batsman is now master in charge of cricket at Dean Close School in Gloucestershire and runs the Gloucestershire U16 side.
Alastair Bressington: All-rounder whose brothers Nathan and Edward were also connected to the county. He is now a teacher at King’s School, Gloucester.
Imraan Mohammad: Batsman who is the nephew of Pakistan batting legend Hanif and son of Sadiq. He is now a senior investment manager with Bamboo Finance.
Reggie Williams: A wicket keeper batsman is now coaching cricket and rackets at Clifton College in his native Bristol.
This piece originally featured in The Cricket Paper on Friday September 18, 2015