Well, as an update to the above, it is possible to go from a clonezilla image to a running VMware box, with about a hundred steps...but it worked without having to go onsite again to fight with an old box that didn't want to see new hardware (I could have got away with attaching an internal IDE drive to it if I had one).
Anyway, a shortened version for those that might be interested, of the process I actually went through, followed by the way I'd do it next time if I really can't do a direct live->vm conversion
1. Grab a clonezilla image of your desired box, Dell Poweredge 600SC with Windows 2000 Advanced Server in this case, onsite using whatever you took with you, 30Gb IDE drive in this case which was 10Gb smaller than the existing 40Gb drive (mental note, find out what you're walking in to first)
2. Back at base: Re-image this clone to a new drive, modern hardware is now an option, ie SATA, leave the drive physically attached to your system.
3. See note #1
4. Download and install the Acronis 10 Trial
5. Re-image drive to an Acronis *.tib file (see note #2)
6. Create Acronis bootable ISO
7. Create temporary VM, with the desired size IDE drive, attach your local physical drive to it that contains your image file, set to boot from the Acronis bootable ISO
8. Boot the VM, use Acronis to reimage your image file to the VM's IDE drive (see note #3)
9. Once complete, power off the VM, do not restart
10. Download and install the Vmware vConverter
11. Convert this temp VM in to a new VM (workstation selected for both but was using Vmware Player 3.1) and make sure that you select "Install VMWare tools" during the conversion options stage (you'll need to download the relevant sysprep files from Microsoft) - this allows the injection of the required file sto get the OS booting in the VM
12. Wait for the conversion to finish (in my case head to bed for 6 hours), then add a new machine to the Player, selecting the converted output, making sure to remove any shared/mapped physical drives, boot and enjoy.
Note #1 - As an aside at this point I also took a ghosted image of the reimaged SATA drive and attempted to run the vConverter directly from this, only to find that although it says "Norton Ghost Files" in the text of the supported Third Party images it actually means sv2i files (KB article here
Note #2 - The reason for this was that Vmware vConverter stated that it could convert directly from *.tib files, now I'm not sure if I did something wrong with the imaging, but it really didn't like my file and wouldn't run with it, hence the faffing (steps 5-7) with the temp VM and reimaging internally.
Note #3 - In hindsight of Note #1 I could simply have ignored Acronis and reimaged into the VM using clonezilla, that's the theory but I didn't try/test it so unsure of the outcome.
If I needed to do it next time, what would I do differently?
1. Prepare better for the onsite visit with a definite decision already made to take a P2V copy.
2. See if I could internally re-image directly from the clonezilla image, ignoring the entire Acronis stage.
If nothing else it flexed the mental muscles slightly for once and was an, er, enjoyable jigsaw puzzle for a Sunday. Now stop giggling at me.