Norfolk are thwarted by final pair

Norfolk were denied a winning start to their Minor Counties Championship campaign in frustrating circumstances on Tuesday as opponents Northumberland clung on for a draw at Jesmond.

The hosts appeared to be staring defeat in the face when they lost their ninth second innings wicket with five overs still to be bowled.

But the last pair of wicket-keeper Ben Maxted and No 11 Stephen Boyd dug in to keep out all that Norfolk could throw at them and in the end the visitors had to settle for the moral victory and the 10 points that came with it.

Earlier veteran opener Carl Rogers had led the way with a Norfolk career best of 173 as George Walker's side declared on 397-7 to set Northumberland a testing target of 355 in a minimum of 54 overs.

To their credit they had a go at it and it was only when skipper Marc Symington was run out for 19, with around 10 overs remaining, that they gave up the chase.

At 257-5 the home side must have felt confident of a comfortable conclusion but four quick wickets totally changed the complexion of the game. Northumberland added a mere six runs to their total as spinners Chris Brown and Walker struck with a vengeance, and all of a sudden an away win looked a distinct possibility.

Sadly that proved not to be the case, even with the whole team crowded round the bat as the Norfolk spin pair piled on the pressure. But Walker's team had still given an excellent account of themselves after a poor run in the MCCA Knock-out Cup which saw them lose all four group games.

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Norfolk resumed yesterday on 157 for three, needing to build on a lead of 114 swiftly to stand any chance of forcing a win.

The stage was set perfectly for Rogers, unbeaten overnight on 57 –and he rose to the occasion in brilliant fashion, aided first by Peter Lambert and then by new-boy Matthew Warnes.

The fourth wicket pair took the score on to 219 before Lambert departed for 38 and then the fun really started, with Warnes and Rogers putting their side in a position of strength with a superb fifth wicket partnership of 159.

Warnes, who was making his debut, contributed 71 while Rogers just went on and on, batting for 270 minutes and facing 224 balls as he recorded his Minor Counties best, with his innings including 24 fours and four sixes.

In the end it was not enough to set up a Norfolk win – but coach Brown, who took 4 for 75 in the second innings, was delighted with their efforts.

'The one-day campaign has certainly been put to bed now,' he said. 'Obviously we are disappointed not to have won the game but I am very proud of all of the lads. To have outplayed a tough side like Northumberland and got so close to beating them on a pitch that did not give us much assistance was an outstanding effort.'


Overnight: Norfolk 253 (CJ Rogers 53, JM Spelman 49) and 157-3 (Rogers 57 no, TR Ward 52); Northumberland 296 (MJ Symington 79, CJ Hooker 58, Eccles 6-70).

Norfolk second innings continued

CJ Rogers c and b Symington 173

PA Lambert c Scott b Boyd 38

MR Warnes c Cragg b Symington 71

AM Watson c Symington b Waite 5

MW Warnes not out 0

Extras (b8 lb6 w5 nb2) 21

Total (7 wkts dec, 82.2 overs) 397

Fall: 4-219 5-378 6-393 7-397

Bowling: Boyd 12-3-45-1, Craigs 7-1-39-0, Hooker 6-0-51-1, Rutherford 6-2-22-0, Symington 25.2-6-133-3, Waite 26-4-93-2.

Northumberland second innings

MAP Dale b Brown 25

DG Shurben c Lambert b Walker 53

A D Gragg c Spelman b Brown 23

GM Scott st Gray b Brown 60

RP Waite lbw b Brown 56

MJ Symington run out 19

CJ Hooker c Rogers b Watson 9

BJ Maxted not out 3

DJ Rutherford c Lambert b Walker 1

MA Craigs c Gray b Walker 0

SJ Boyd not out 4

Extras (b12 lb2) 14

Total (9 wkts, 60 overs) 267

Fall: 1-69 2-95 3-148 4-199 5-232 6-257 7-262 8-263 9-263

Bowling: Eccles 11-0-79-0, MW Warnes 4-1-18-0, Brown 26-7-75-4, Walker 13-3-66-3, AM Watson 6-2-15-1.

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