Five-star fielding earns Norfolk draw
Norfolk produced a fantastic display in the field to claim a draw against Cumberland at Manor Park.
The visitors looked all set to chase down their target of 177 at tea, but a superb team effort restricted Cumberland to 159-8 at the close.
The day began with Norfolk resuming on 175-3 as they looked to set a competitive target in overcast conditions. Trevor Ward was key for the hosts and after a watchful start, he thumped three fours off a James Lowe over to get Norfolk going.
He then went to his 50 with some excellent leg side shots and along with Sam Arthurton – who was showing maturity beyond his years – put on 108 for the fourth wicket.
The introduction of the new ball caused a flurry of wickets though. Richard Gleeson dismissed Arthurton and Stephen Gray before Chris Williams got the big wicket of Ward for 69. Norfolk were 267-6 and it was left to Chris Brown and Luke Caswell to get the hosts to lunch.
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Having made it to the interval, Caswell was trapped lbw by Gleeson and this brought Walker to the crease. The Norfolk skipper and Brown survived some big appeals early on but they went on to boost the lead with an excellent partnership. Walker was timing the ball nicely and Brown was proving a thorn in the side of Cumberland once again.
Marcus Sharp eventually claimed the wicket of Walker, but by this point the lead was 171 and the Norfolk skipper had helped ensure his side had something to bowl at.
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The final three wickets fell quickly to leave Cumberland needing 177 runs to win in a minimum of 41 overs.
With Michael Warnes still unable to bowl due to injury, James Spelman opened the bowling with Aaron Watson and Cumberland got off to a solid start, reaching 37-0 by tea.
When centurion from the first innings Jonathan Miles set the tone with two boundaries in an over after tea.
The home side remained positive and going into the last 20 overs, they adopted a one-day approach to proceedings.
Brown had Miles stumped for 31 after good work from Gray and thus began a thrilling spell of cricket, dominated by Norfolk. Brown and Walker were bowling superbly in tandem, with Cumberland's batsman struggling to get them away. Walker then claimed the wicket of James Lowe and the pressure increased with every over. Liam Livingstone fell to Brown before Ikram Ullah was run out for just two.
Norfolk were on top and it wasn't long before Brown struck again to dismiss Alex Atkinson.
James Smith relieved the pressure somewhat with 10 runs in two balls, but when he fell for 17, Cumberland were 146-6 and still required 31 to win. Every moment was tense by this stage and the spectators couldn't take their eyes off the action.
Cumberland skipper Gary Pratt was perhaps the key man, but he became Brown's fifth victim and Norfolk were eyeing up a shock victory.
The celebrations of the Norfolk players when Williams became the eighth wicket to fall said it all about the turnaround in fortunes.
Going into the last over, Norfolk needed two wickets and Cumberland 19 runs. Brown – who was named man of the match after match figures of 9-130 – bowled beautifully once again, but Cumberland managed to see things out.
Skipper Walker was pleased with his team's efforts on the final day, saying 'I'm delighted. It was a run chase they seemed to be on top of. Myself and Brownie managed to drag it into our favour and then we had 10 balls to try and get the last couple of wickets. When it came to the run chase, it was a great effort and all the catches were held. It was a really good team performance when it counted.'
Overnight: Norfolk 191 (LW Caswell 56, Gleeson 5-69 and 175-3 (H Bush 50); Cumberland 369-9 (J W R Miles 134, J A Smith 105, Brown 4-90).
• Norfolk Second Innings (cont)
T R Ward c Ullah b Williams 69
S S Arthurton lbw b Gleeson 44
S K Gray lbw b Gleeson 2
L W Caswell lbw b Gleeson 6
C Brown c Ullah b Gleeson 34
G W Walker lbw b Sharp 32
M W Warnes not out 0
A A Watson lbw b Lowe 0
Extras b14 lb 7 w8 29
Total (122.3 overs) 354
Fall: 4-265 5-267 6-267 7-293 8-349 9-350.
Bowling: Gleeson 28.3-6-81-4, Sharp 28-14-57-1, Williams 24-3-89-2, Smith 5-0-29-0, Lowe 20-6-34-2, Livingstone 13-6-20-0, Hodgson 4-0-22-0.
• Cumberland Second Innings
J A Lowe lbw b Walker 37
J W R Miles st Gray b Brown 31
L Livingstone c Caswell b Brown 19
G J Pratt c Rogers b Brown 35
Ikram Ullah run out (Ward/Gray) 2
A N Atkinson lbw b Brown 1
J A Smith c Bush b Brown 17
C Williams c Bush b Walker 2
C J Hodgson not out 2
R J Gleeson not out 2
Extras lb2 w9 11
Total (8 wkts, 41 overs) 159
Fall: 1-75 2-81 3-107 4-115 5-118 6-146 7-154 8-156
Bowling: Watson 3-0-16-0, Spelman 4-0-16-0, Brown 18-1-60-5, Caswell 5-0-21-0, Walker 11-0-44-2.