Bradshaw’s keeping his positive outlook

Paul Bradshaw believes playing positive cricket holds the key to Norfolk's chances of forcing their way back into contention for the Minor Counties Championship title.

Paul Bradshaw believes playing positive cricket holds the key to Norfolk's chances of forcing their way back into contention for the Minor Counties Championship title.

Norfolk face Buckinghamshire at Manor Park tomorrow (11am) and Bradshaw is determined to keep faith with the positive tactics which backfired on him in the defeat to Northumberland earlier this week.

His declaration left Northumberland with a chance of winning the game and although the visitors slumped to 133 for six in pursuit of 253 for victory, they recovered to claim an unlikely four-wicket win.

Bradshaw said: "With the amount of people who come to watch and with everything that goes on at Horsford to stage the matches, if you start playing negative cricket you are letting those people down and it would be wrong.

"We could have batted on for another five overs and killed the game off, but our best opportunity of winning was if they believed they could also win and did not just block out the overs. It is the way we are going to go and I don't see you gain anything by being negative."

The three-day game against Bucks is the only one in the schedule this weekend as both counties catch up on their game in hand. Victory could see Norfolk overtake leaders Hertfordshire and Bradshaw is well aware of the importance of the match: "After this one, everybody will be level and the table will reflect what's happened," he said.

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Despite the defeat against Northumberland, the skipper was happy with his team's display, apart from a few lapses in the field: "For three-quarters of the game, we dominated it," Bradshaw said. "At times we batted well and I thought we bowled in good areas.

"We need to improve our catching, but I think we just had one of those days with the chances we dropped. If we had held them, we could have set them a really big total so it did make a difference."

Norfolk have recalled Jaik Mickleburgh in place of Stephen Gray, although Bradshaw said that was no reflection on the Fakenham man's performance in his debut against Northumberland. Bradshaw added: "Stephen should not feel that he has let himself down in any way shape or form. He went in at number six and shaped up very well and did not look out of place.

"It was not an easy decision to make, but we've identified Jaik as a genuine middle order batsman for the future so he got the nod this time."

Bucks won their opening match against Northumberland by 43 runs, before drawing with Bedfordshire. Earlier this week, they suffered a one-wicket defeat to Cumberland after both sides had made a result possible with positive declarations.

Their most recognisable name is former Surrey left arm spinner Keith Medlycott, who now opens the batting. He toured the West Indies with England in 1989 but did not play in a Test and retired from first class cricket in 1991 at the age of 26.

Norfolk: C Amos, C J Rogers, J M Spelman, T R Ward, C R Borrett, J C Mickleburgh, C Brown, L T S Newton (wicket-keeper), P J Bradshaw (captain), I R Slegg, M P Eccles.

Buckinghamshire: P D Atkins (captain), K T Medlycott, W Miller, J C Harrison, R Hamilton-Brown, P R Sawyer, T A Brooks, C Sketchley, A Wynd (wicket-keeper), J J Newell, S F Stanway.