Ben France returns to take two wickets – but can’t stop Norfolk being beaten by Lincolnshire

James Hale had a good match for Norfolk, scoring a total of 102 runs and only being dismissed once.

James Hale had a good match for Norfolk, scoring a total of 102 runs and only being dismissed once. Picture: TIM FERLEY - Credit: Archant

The second match of the annual Norfolk Festival of Cricket ended in disappointment for the hosts yesterday when they slid to defeat at the hands of Lincolnshire.

After starting the final day of the Minor Counties Championship encounter 129 runs to the good with six wickets in hand, Chris Brown's team were only able set a target of 194 and that proved to be no real problem for the visitors.

They were under a little pressure after slipping to 63-3, with Ben France – fit to bowl after being unable to bat because of a thumb injury sustained on Monday – taking a couple of wickets.

But it was pretty much plain sailing after that, with first innings hero Adam Tilcock adding an unbeaten half century to first innings of 153 not out. The all-rounder had quite a match, backing up his runs with a total of six wickets.

Resuming on 128-4 in their second innings Norfolk suffered an early blow when Lewis Denmark played on to the first delivery of the morning he faced to go for 20.

With France unavailable, the hosts were effectively six down, and overnight batsman James Hale then knuckled down with Ashley Watson to try and make a game of it.

They added 33 before Watson went for 11 and Norfolk were really up against it when Brett Stolworthy was dismissed for nine with the score on 177.

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The end, when it came, was swift with Hale being trapped leg before for a battling 59 to go with his unbeaten 43 in the first innings and last man Sam Groves going the same way off the very next ball.

Norfolk were still very much in the game at that stage, especially with France being able to join the bowling attack, and they got an early boost when opener Louis Kimber went lbw with the score on 14.

Brown then took his sixth wicket of the match, having Jonny Tattersall caught behind for 21, before France got his second leg before decision to get rid of Harry Warwick for the same score.

Had Norfolk taken another couple of quick wickets at that stage it really would have interesting, but Conrad Louth and Tilcock then proceeded to take the game away from them with a fourth wicket stand of 66.

By the time Louth was caught by Brown off the bowling of Stolworthy for 54 less than 70 runs were required for victory and they were duly knocked off by Tilcock and Akhil Patel.

The pair had put on 114 in the first innings and made an unbroken 64 the second time around, with Tilcock finishing on 50 and Patel on 29.

France was the busiest and most successful of the Norfolk bowlers, sending down 20 overs and finishing with figures of 2-61.

With one victory and one defeat to their name so far, Norfolk will now be aiming to round off their Festival campaign on a winning note when they take on Northumberland, with the three-day fixture getting under way on Sunday (11am).

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