Ashley Watson leads Norfolk to second successive Trophy victory

Action from Norfolk against Lincolnshire, Unicorns Trophy cricket. Lincolnshire batsman Dan Freeman

Action from Norfolk against Lincolnshire, Unicorns Trophy cricket. Lincolnshire batsman Dan Freeman ducks under the ball from Norfolk bowler Adam Todd. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

Norfolk's promising start to the new season continued yesterday when they made light of the absence of skipper Chris Brown to make it two wins out of two in the Unicorns Minor Counties Knockout Trophy.

Brown was forced to watch from the sidelines after picking up a back injury while playing for Horsford the previous day. But Ashley Watson proved a more than capable understudy as the hosts put themselves in a great position to qualify for the quarter-finals.

They followed up their tense four-run victory over Cambridgeshire the previous weekend with a much more comfortable five-wicket success against Lincolnshire at Manor Park.

Norfolk were always in command after bowling out their opponents for just 167 and went on to bat solidly to seal the two points with almost six overs to spare.

Lincolnshire won the toss and opted to bat first but it looked a questionable decision as they slipped to 28-3 with Ben France taking all three of the wickets to fall.

Dan Freeman (22) and Dominic Brown (30) then helped get the innings back on track but it was slow going and when they went Lincolnshire slipped to 119-8 before a partnership of 40 between Martin Weightman (31) and David Lucas (19) at least gave them something to defend.

France finished up with the impressive figures of 4-23 from 8.4 overs while Watson weighed in with 3-21. Northamptonshire paceman Olly Stone, working his way back to full fitness with his home county, got through nine overs and had the respectable analysis of 1-32.

Most Read

In reply Norfolk lost opener Sam Arthurton with just one run on the scoreboard but France (38) and Jordan Taylor (19) steadied the ship and the score had moved on to 59 by the time the next wicket fell, with France being stumped going for what would have been a sixth boundary.

Garry Park quickly followed for a first-ball duck as he was trapped leg before and there was still some concern amongst the home faithful when Norfolk slipped to 97-5 with Taylor and Lewis Denmark (25) both losing their wickets.

That was as worrying as it got however, with James Hale and Watson seeing them home with an unbroken sixth-wicket stand of 71, Hale finishing unbeaten on 26 and the captain on 41, the top score of the day.

Norfolk now face a long trek to Benwell Hill to take on Northumberland on Sunday knowing a win will guarantee them a place in the quarter-finals with one match to spare.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter