Harry’s maiden century puts Norfolk on scent of victory
A maiden unbeaten century by Harry Bush, secured when he dug out a yorker from the penultimate ball of Norfolk's first innings, gave the home side maximum batting points against Staffordshire at Manor Park, on day two of their Minor Counties Eastern Division match.
The home side could go on to take maximum points if they can win today against a Staffs side with a 101-run lead but with just five second innings wickets remaining.
Bush hit 12 boundaries, mainly through the leg side with a couple of reverse sweeps thrown in for good measure, and battled for more than 140 minutes as Norfolk transformed the morning's slow progress into a hot afternoon run feast.
With Staffs having posted 278 for nine, Norfolk reached only 146 for three by lunch and had just 27 overs of their innings remaining.
But Trevor Ward, unbeaten on 24 at lunch, and Bush, not out 14, must have enjoyed their meal as the re-appeared in attacking mood and took the game to their rivals.
Having come together at 115 for three the pair, Leicester Ivanhoe team-mates, took the tally to 270 before Ward was out for 79, having slammed eight fours and one mighty six.
On reaching 77 Ward achieved a personal milestone, passing 3,000 Minor Counties runs for Norfolk since his 2004 debut.
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There were seven overs remaining on Ward's departure and Bush and new batsman Stephen Gray continue to pillage the runs. Together they smashed 60 in the final six overs of the innings aided by some excellent running between the wickets.
Indeed, the 27 overs after lunch yielded Norfolk 184 runs and the star of the show was undoubtedly young Bush.
At the start of the final over Norfolk had 319 for four on the board but needed six more runs for maximum batting points while Bush needed two more for his ton.
Bush took a single off the first ball, Gray did the same next ball, the third was a leg bye and Gray took another single off the fourth.
It was then left to Bush to reach three-figures before Gray carted the final ball over the ropes for six to steer Norfolk to a 52-run first innings lead. Gray finished unbeaten on 26.
Norfolk started their second innings in the field encouragingly.
Opening bowler Michael Eccles took a wicket with the final ball of the first over, cleaning up Kadeer Ali, who hit 97 in the first innings, for a duck.
After that Staffs tried to consolidate but wickets tumbled, helped by a couple of strange dismissals.
Pete Wilshaw was caught at short leg by Sam Arthurton, when the ball seemed to lodge in Arthurton's grasp, before Attiq Chishti drove James Spelman who deflected the ball on to the stumps and ran out non-strike batsman Ben McGuire.
Chishti was unbeaten on 43 at the close with Staffs on 153 for five after 42 overs.
Progress in the morning session had been hard work with Norfolk moving on from the overnight 62 for one to 146 for three in 38 overs.
Carl Rogers seemed to be finding his touch when, with his total on 42 and Norfolk on 89, he played on to left-armer Greg Willott.
Trevor Ward joined Arthurton but the Great Witchingham bat was out leg before to Kadeer Ali on 39 with the total up to 115.
Play resumes this morning, the final day of the match, at 11am with Norfolk narrow favourites to win against the side currently top of the table.
Norfolk v Staffordshire, day 2
Overnight: Staffs 278-9 (Kadeer Ali 97, C Brown 7-83); Norfolk 62-1.
Norfolk 1st innings continued
CJ Rogers b Willott 42
SS Arthurton lbw b Kadeer Ali 39
TR Ward c Willott b Barker 79
H Bush not out 100
SK Gray not out 26
Extras (b6 lb9 w8 nb10) 33
Total (4 wkts, 90 overs) 330
Fall continued: 2-89 3-115 4-270
Bowling: Imran Arif 23-2-103-0, Willott 21-9-45-2, Barker 18-6-46-1, Byrne 14-2-56-0, Kadeer Ali 10-1-31-1, McGuire 3-0-23-0, Attiq Chishti 1-0-11-0.
Staffordshire 2nd innings
JRA Campbell lbw b Spelman 31
Kadeer Ali b Eccles 0
T Maxfield c Gray b Spelman 41
Attiq Chrishti not out 43
PJ Wilshaw c Arthurton b Brown 6
BT McGuire run out (Spelman) 20
PSJ Goodwin not out 2
Extras (b3 lb3 nb4) 10
Total (5 wkts, 42 overs) 153
Fall: 1-5 2-67 3-80 4-97 5-143
Bowling: Eccles 9-2-28-1, Warnes 6-1-27-0, Spelman 15-4-45-2, Brown 10-2-36-1, Walker 2-0-11-0.