Brown remains upbeat after Norfolk defeat
Norfolk player/coach Chris Brown is confident of a stronger Minor Counties Championship showing this season after a winless MCCA Knockout Trophy campaign concluded today with a three wicket defeat at Lincolnshire.
Sam Arthurton's brilliant 133 not out helped Norfolk set the hosts a competitive 291 to win off 50 overs, but Lincs' prevailed with four balls to spare – home skipper Paul Cook (97) the backbone of their measured reply.
Norfolk finished the county one day season bottom of pool four with no wins from four fixtures – but Brown rules out any adverse reaction when they open their Championship campaign at Northumberland this weekend.
'It's a bitter pill to swallow but our one day season has finished now,' he said. 'We've discussed the areas where we have fell short and it's been a combination of one of the disciplines not clicking in every game. We never had all three disciplines right on the same day. We've had a long chat in the changing room and we need to put that right in the three day game, which is a totally different format.
'We have to draw a line and make sure you don't take the errors into the longer game. In this game, again, we probably bowled too many balls either side of the wicket which is very difficult to defend. We haven't been competitive in one day cricket. We'll address that in the winter because our next one day game won't be until April 2012 now. So, as I say, line drawn under this competition, but at the same time we must be aware where we have come unstuck for the three day game to put that right ahead of Northumberland.'
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Arthurton's maiden one day county century was the highlight of Norfolk's group finale. The Great Witchingham right-hander received solid support from Trevor Ward (92) prior to a frenetic onslaught in the final overs.
'It was some of the cleanest hitting I have seen,' said Brown. 'Look at the boundaries he was hitting and it wasn't just one area, it was almost 360 degrees. As a bowler that is difficult to contain. I think he scored 50 or 60 runs off the last nine or ten balls he faced which is incredible and shows how much skill he has.
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'It was a tough one to take after posting 290. At half-way we thought that was a competitive score, but we lost three or four wickets cheaply so it needed something exceptional from Sam and Trevor or we could have been 220 all out. We took a couple of early wickets with the new ball, but the partnership with their captain and (Karanjit) Bansal set the game up quite nicely. It's a bitter pill to swallow but our one day season has finished now and we look forward to the three day season.'
Brown insists the emerging talents of players like Arthurton and the young brigade bodes well for the future.
'We brought a few players into the squad this season and I think that will continue because very soon we will be going through a transition period,' he said. 'There might be four or five senior players who have been around for a very long time and perhaps they will be coming close to retiring, but we have a good crop of youngsters. The development team has lads who will start drip feeding in. I'm quite a fan of throwing them in at the deep end.
'Here in this game Michael (Warnes) was playing only his second match. He is 21 and he might have gone for runs, but he has shown me and the captain and the selectors that he is someone who has potential and we have to stick with those players. Sam is perhaps a bit further down the line but we have Harry Bush, who was unavailable due to university commitments, Peter Lambert, Luke Caswell and cricketers who sooner rather than later will figure more and more.'