Borrett puts Norfolk on top

A majestic 95 from Chris Borrett put Norfolk in command against Buckinghamshire and set up an intriguing last day at Manor Park.

A majestic 95 from Chris Borrett put Norfolk in command against Buckinghamshire and set up an intriguing last day at Manor Park.

Borrett was the only batsman on either side to truly master the conditions and his effort thoroughly deserved a century, but he was denied that honour when he miscued a lofted drive to deep midwicket.

Norfolk finished the day on 299 for seven, a lead of 285 after Buckinghamshire had collapsed to 161 all out earlier in the day. The Bucks batsmen simply had no answer to the spin of Chris Brown, who added five more wickets to the one he had picked up on the first day.

Norfolk skipper Paul Bradshaw said: “We rectified what went wrong on the first day. Chris Brown got his reward for bowling in the right areas.


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“Chris Borrett played very well and I'm sure he's disappointed not to get the century, which would have rounded it off. But as much as we would have liked him to, he was never going to try and push five singles as that is the way he bats - he strikes the ball probably better than anybody I know.

“We'll look to get the lead past 300 in the morning and we'll see how the wicket plays and whether it is swinging around and go from there.”

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There was a distinct lack of strategy in the Bucks approach yesterday, as they appeared unsure whether to go for quick runs or consolidate on their strong overnight position. They ultimately did neither and a succession of rash strokes handed the initiative back to the hosts.

Brown struck in his third over of the day, when Paul Sawyer advanced down the track and scooped the ball to Borrett at mid-on. Thomas Brooks was bewildered by a Brown delivery which saw him depart lbw as Bucks added just 16 runs in the first 10 overs of the day.

Ian Slegg was rewarded for a persistent line when he had Chris Sketchley caught behind and when Andrew Wynd missed an ugly attempted slog sweep off Brown, the visitors were 152 for eight. Luke Vinter also perished trying to hit Brown over the top, as Carl Amos took a straightforward catch at mid-on and the spinner wrapped the innings up in the 76th over when Jonathan Newell was bowled heaving across the line.

Brown finished with outstanding figures of six for 35 from 31.5 overs and he surely holds the key to Norfolk's chances of winning the match today.

In complete contrast to the rather turgid batting which had preceded it, the Norfolk second innings began with a purpose as Carl Amos drove the first ball of the innings for four. He and Carl Rogers took the score up to 33 from just four overs, prompting Bucks skipper Paul Atkins to introduce spinner Newell. He immediately helped stem the flow of runs and extracted some significant bounce to trouble the batsmen.

But it was left arm seamer Sawyer who removed Amos four overs before lunch, sending his middle stump cartwheeling backwards with Norfolk on 63.

Rogers and James Spelman had advanced the score to 94 when an unimpressed Rogers was sent back to the pavilion, given out lbw for 37 in Sketchley's first over.

Trevor Ward injected some momentum back into the innings with a breezy 29, including a sweetly struck six off Sketchley, but the spinner had the last laugh as he won another lbw decision to leave Norfolk on 129 for three.

Borrett's fluency was a contrast to the measured approach of Spelman and the Norwich all-rounder smashed Newell for two sixes and a four from successive deliveries.

Spelman finally looked to be hitting his stride as he hit a fine cover drive for four, but from the next ball he hesitated when called through for a quick single by Borrett and was run out for 36.

Borrett, however, continued to make batting look easy and another six saw him pass 2,000 championship runs for Norfolk. By then Jaik Mickleburgh and Brown had departed cheaply, but Borrett seemed destined for a century until he finally mistimed one off Simon Stanway and Brooks took the catch.

Luke Newton and Bradshaw saw Norfolk through to the close and they will have high hopes of completing a victory today which would take them to the top of the table.

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