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Chris Brown’s final season in charge of Norfolk was a promising one

PUBLISHED: 09:28 14 September 2018

Ashley Watson was Norfolk's top Championship wicket-taker Picture: Tim Ferley

Ashley Watson was Norfolk's top Championship wicket-taker Picture: Tim Ferley

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Norfolk’s 2018 Minor Counties Championship campaign was a big one for skipper Chris Brown and opener Sam Arthurton, as Chris Wise reports

Sam Arthurton scored notched up a superb tally of 822 Championship runs Picture: Tim FerleySam Arthurton scored notched up a superb tally of 822 Championship runs Picture: Tim Ferley

Chris Brown feels his successor as Norfolk captain will have plenty to build on after seeing his final season in charge produce some encouraging results.

Norfolk won three of their six Minor Counties Championship matches over the course of the summer to finish fifth in the East Division, a mere 21 points behind champions Lincolnshire.

Brown’s spell as skipper drew to a close in just the way he wanted it to, with a 114-run win over Bedfordshire at Luton, and now he is looking forward to a new chapter of his county career as a coach.

“Overall I thought it was a good season for us and from a personal point of view it was really nice to bow out with an excellent win,” he said. “All the boys played their part at Luton - and it was good to see two young lads in Charlie Rogers and Chris Read, who have come through our pathway, along with Callum Metcalf (aged 16) who played in the win versus Lincolnshire, getting their chance in my final game.

Chris Brown led Norfolk for the final time against Bedfordshire earlier this month Picture: Tim FerleyChris Brown led Norfolk for the final time against Bedfordshire earlier this month Picture: Tim Ferley

“We started the season well by beating the eventual champions but unfortunately we then had a really poor game against Suffolk which knocked us back.

“After that we dominated against Staffordshire at Manor Park but had to settle for a draw and then beat Hertfordshire to stay in with a chance of winning the title. We then lost to Cambridgeshire in a match I didn’t play in because of my ECB commitments and won our final game in impressive fashion, so it was been a decent season overall.

“There are some good youngsters coming through and whoever takes over as captain will have some good players to work with.”

Brown, who has roles as performance manager for the Norfolk Cricket Board and head of cricket at Gresham’s School to focus on, as well as his coaching duties with the county, added: “Of course I will miss playing for Norfolk. I have enjoyed every single minute of my time here but now is the right moment to stand down and focus on coaching, although I will still be playing for Horsford.”

Brown’s successor as captain will be announced at the county’s annual meeting in November, with one-day skipper Ashley Watson – who deputised in the match against Cambridgeshire - one of the leading candidates.

“There will be a meeting to discuss the new captain in due course and all I will say is that Ashley has led the one-day side for a couple of seasons now and has done a very good job,” added the outgoing skipper.

Someone else who did a good job for Norfolk in 2018 was opener Sam Arthurton, who topped the Minor Counties Championship batting figures in some style with 822 runs at an average of 82.20. He was the county’s leading run getter by some distance, with professional Tom New his nearest challenger on 490, and led the way nationally as well, with only Shropshire’s Alex Kervezee (748) getting anywhere near him.

Arthurton is the first Norfolk batsman to exceed 800 runs in the six three-day game format, which has been in operation since 2001, beating Carl Rogers’ 779 at an average of 86.55 in 2005.

Watson was the county’s leading Minor Counties Championship wicket-taker with 21 at 22.8 while fellow spinner Ryan Findlay topped the averages with nine wickets at 12.88.

Brown took 16 wickets at 24.31 to end his Norfolk playing career with 480 Championship victims and 507 in total. It’s a figure bettered only by the 690 of Michael Falcon, who played between 1907 and 1946.

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