Minor Counties victory for Norfolk

Norfolk completed a remarkable turnaround to clinch a famous six wickets Minor Counties victory against Staffordshire with a superb all round team performance at Manor Park today.

Norfolk completed a remarkable turnaround to clinch a famous six wickets Minor Counties victory against Staffordshire with a superb all round team performance at Manor Park today.

It was a doubly special occasion for opener Carl Rogers, captaining Norfolk in the continued absence through injury of Paul Bradshaw.

Not only did he lead the way with an unbeaten century, but in the process he became only the fourth batsmen to pass 8,000 runs in a Norfolk career.

Chris Borrett, however, was named the Clydesdale Bank man of the match for the first innings century which turned the game back in Norfolk's favour after they had ended the first day with their backs to the wall.

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With Staffordshire's overnight lead standing at 176 with four wickets remaining, the visitors began the third day looking to score quick runs in order to set Norfolk a challenging target.

For their part, Norfolk were keen to wrap the Staffordshire innings up as quickly as possible and set up a run chase of attainable proportions.

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The overnight pair of Alaistair Maiden and Craig Barker seemed in little trouble when play resumed. Maiden, undefeated on 93 at the start of the day, was the more cautious of the two, taking almost half an hour to record the seven singles needed to complete his hundred on his Staffordshire debut.

The lead was extended past the 200 mark before Maiden was caught by Trevor Ward at short leg off Chris Brown for 116. The same bowler then accounted for Barker, accepting a straight-forward return catch for 39 at 245-8.

The last two wickets were to provide little resistance and, within a quarter of an hour, the innings was complete. A mix up between Shaun Rashid and Andrew Johnson saw the former run out for 19 before Brown polished things off by accounting for Greg Stanwick - his third wicket of the morning.

Staffordshire's all out total of 251 left Norfolk with a tricky half hour session to bat before lunch as they embarked on an attempt to make 263 to win from a minimum of 67 overs at an asking rate of 3.93 runs per over.

Carl Amos and Carl Rogers then gave Norfolk the best possible start in the quest negotiating the eight overs to lunch in scoring 40 without loss. Rogers in that short session reaching the landmark of 8,000 minor counties runs with a pull through mid-wicket off Barker.

Half an hour into the post lunch session came the first major scare for Norfolk when they were to lose wickets in successive overs.

First Amos who had hit eight fours in racing on to 47 was adjudged lbw to Barker and then in the next over just three balls later James Spelman was bowled by Sam Seadon for one.

Trevor Ward then joined Rogers and the pair steadied the ship adding 78 for the third wicket before Ward was caught low down at cover by Maiden off Stanwick for 32.

First innings centurion Chris Borrett then joined skipper Rogers and the pair added another 60 for the fourth wicket before Borrett was out to Andy Johnson for 40.

Fittingly it was Rogers, ably supported by Matthew Wilkinson, who saw Norfolk home to a six wicket victory completing his 16th Norfolk hundred along the way and finishing 101 not out as the winning score of 263 for four appeared on the scoreboard just before the last hour was due to commence.

Norfolk now look forward to the second game of the festival against old rivals Cambridgeshire (comfortably beaten by Suffolk by nine wickets today) which begins next Sunday with an 11am start.

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