Festival to bring out the best in Norfolk?

Garry Park scored an excellent unbeaten century for Norfolk. Picture: Tim Ferley

Garry Park scored an excellent unbeaten century for Norfolk. Picture: Tim Ferley - Credit: Archant

The disappointment of defeat at Staffordshire is already giving way to determination to bounce back on home soil for Norfolk.

An eventful 145-run loss leaves the county squad still searching for the first win of their Unicorns Minor Counties Championship campaign.

The visitors trailed by 123 runs after their first innings, having won the toss and put Staffs into bat, thanks chiefly to an unbeaten 103 from Garry Park keeping them in the match at West Bromwich Dartford.

'The pitch didn't deteriorate so I think it was the right decision to bowl first because it was still an excellent surface on the last day,' Norfolk captain Chris Brown reflected.

'At the end of the first day James Spelman and Sam Arthurton batted well through to the close but then from 45 for one, to then be out for 209 in our first innings, was not the main reason we didn't win – but it was a massive contribution.

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'I thought Garry Park played brilliantly well under difficult circumstances to get his first hundred in a couple of seasons for us.

'Then in the second innings we were well placed at 135-2 but then we lost five for 28 either side of tea.'

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The skipper led the fightback with figures of six for 61 to help restrict Staffs to 218-8 before they declared but a target of 340 proved too much for the visitors to overcome.

However, with the Norfolk Festival of Cricket starting next weekend, Brown remains upbeat about his team's prospects in the three-day competition.

Of his six-wicket haul, Brown, who has now taken 12 wickets in the Championship at an average of 11.58 this season, said: 'The ball is coming out of the hand pretty nicely at the moment but on this occasion our batting let us down.

'However it was only our second match so we've still got four to play, whereas most have played three already, and we've got the festival coming up which the players always look forward to.

'The games come thick and fast at this time of year, and we are notorious for playing well at Manor Park.

'In our first game at Wisbech the weather stopped us when we were in a good position to go on and win but, to be honest, Staffordshire were the better side in this second game.

'So we'll look to improve and all the players look forward to playing at the festival, in front of all the members and with the sponsors tents all up.'

The festival starts against Buckinghamshire on Sunday, July 17 and is followed by matches starting on the following two Sundays against Lincolnshire and Northumberland respectively.

'First innings runs are vital in Championship cricket, and this is something that we're looking to address,' Brown added.

'Of course there are areas of our bowling which we want to improve as well, so it's just an all-round better performance that we will be looking for against Bucks.'

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