Determined Norfolk get back into it

Norfolk's top order produced an improved batting display against Cumberland at Manor Park to reach 176-3 at stumps on day two.

The hosts trail by just three runs and will go into the final day looking to set a competitive total for the visitors to chase.

Norfolk's day began in the field with Cumberland resuming on 129-2. Early wickets were required and they got one when Gary Pratt fended a Chris Brown delivery into the safe hands of James Spelman at silly mid-off.

It wasn't long before the hosts had a second setback though. After Michael Eccles broke a finger on the eve of the match, injury forced fellow seamer Michael Warnes off the field in the second over on the day.

This reduced George Walker's options, but with Brown leading the way, Norfolk had a positive first hour. The spinner had Ikram Ullah caught by Carl Rogers for six and he struck again when he trapped Alex Atkinson lbw for five.

This was to be the last success for a while though as Jonathan Miles – who was 65 not out overnight – and James Smith pushed Cumberland beyond Norfolk's total.

Miles had been relatively quiet early on, but he launched Brown for a straight six and this helped him get in the grove again before he reached his century in the 66th over.

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By this stage, the runs were flowing for Cumberland, with Smith hitting a maximum over the square leg boundary to go to 50.

With the partnership between the pair moving past 100, Luke Caswell was introduced just before lunch and he got the breakthrough, with Miles departing for 134.

Cumberland moved beyond 300 shortly after the interval, but Norfolk were in the wickets again when Carl Rogers trapped both Chris Williams and Dean Hodgson lbw in quick succession.

Smith was the problem for home side though as he increased the run rate with some powerful strokes, including a huge six over long-on that took him to three figures.

He eventually became Rogers' third victim of the day shortly before Cumberland reached 369-9 in their 90 overs.

Trailing by 178, Norfolk's batsman knew they had to dig in if they were to get back into the match and they were given a good start by openers James Spelman and Carl Rogers.

The pair played some excellent shots as they chipped away at Cumberland's lead, with Rogers relieving pressure with boundaries and Spelman growing in confidence as his innings went on.

Rogers fell just before the tea break, but not before 72 had been added for the first wicket. It was just what Norfolk needed and it gave them a good chance to push on in the evening session. The improvement did indeed continue, with Harry Bush contributing to a partnership that saw the scoreboard ticking along nicely.

Cumberland introduced spin to try and make the breakthrough, but it was a excellent piece of fielding from Pratt that did for Spelman, who was run out for 40.

The experienced Trevor Ward then walked to the crease, aware that wickets in hand were going to be crucial going into the last day.

Bush was continuing to be positive and he went to his 50 in the 57th over. Frustratingly for him though he didn't add any further runs before being dismissed by the spin of James Lowe.

Under the fading light, Ward and Sam Arthurton managed to see Norfolk through to the close.

'We need to be patient and bat time. We've got good enough batsman to put away bad balls,' said Norfolk skipper Walker afterwards.

'There is no point setting any targets at this stage. We will hopefully bat until lunch, not lose any more wickets and see how it goes.'


Overnight: Norfolk 191 (LW Caswell 56, Gleeson 5-69; Cumberland 129-2 (JWR Miles 69 not).

• Cumberland First Innings (cont)

J W R Miles lbw b Caswell 134

G J Pratt c Spelman b Brown 25

Ikram Ullah c Rogers b Brown 6

A N Atkinson lbw b Brown 5

J A Smith c Bush b Rogers 105

C Williams lbw b Rogers 1

C J Hodgson lbw b Rogers 14

R J Gleeson not out 17

M A Sharp not out 1

Extras b16 lb8 w5 29

Total (9 wkts, 90 overs) 369

Fall: 3-133 4-147 5-172 6-293 7-300 8-330 9-367

Bowling: Warnes 8.5-4-22-0, Watson 10-5-31-0, Spelman 6-2-18-0, Walker 22.1-2-96-1, Brown 25-3-90-4, Caswell 7-0-31-1, Bush 3-0-20-0, Rogers 8-0-37-3.

• Norfolk Second Innings

J M Spelman run out (Pratt) 40

C J Rogers c Sharp b Williams 48

H Bush c Sharp b Lowe 50

T R Ward not out 21

S S Arthurton not out 7

Extras lb6 w3 9

Total (3 wkts, 65 overs) 175

Fall: 1-72 2-120 3-157

Bowling: Gleeson 11-5-18-0, Sharp 13-7-33-0, Williams 11-1-51-1, Smith 5-0-29-0, Lowe 12-3-17-1, Livingstone 13-6-21-0.

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