Norfolk beaten in quarter-finals for third year running
- Credit: Archant Norfolk
Norfolk suffered more one-day heartbreak yesterday when they slipped to a narrow defeat at the hands of Lincolnshire in a keenly-contestly Unicorns Trophy quarter-final.
Chris Brown's side had gone out of the competition at the last-eight stage in each of the previous two seasons and completed an unwanted hat-trick at Grantham in a match reduced to 42 overs a side by overnight rain.
Norfolk did well to restrict the home side to 212 for eight, with Ben France and Ryan Findlay both taking three wickets, but the total proved to be beyond them as they were dismissed for 193.
Brown won the toss and decided to bowl first, with the move paying early dividends when France bowled Paul Cook with just 13 runs on the board.
Lincolnshire soon got to grips with their challenge, however, and a partnership of 66 between Sam Kelsall and Conrad Louth got them firmly back on track.
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Louth eventually went for 35, caught by Garry Park off the bowling of Findlay, but Kelsall then found another willing ally in Peter Morgan, with a further 87 being put on for the third wicket.
At 166-2 Lincolnshire looked in an extremely strong position, but Morgan (40) and Kelsall (73) then went in quick succession, with Horsford skipper Findlay taking both wickets.
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All of a sudden it was 171 for four and, sensing an opportunity to limit the opposition to a total not far in excess of 200, the Norfolk bowlers got to work in impressive fashion.
France took two wickets and Brown and Brett Stolworthy one apiece as Lincolnshire crumbled and in the end it required a run-a-ball 20 from wicketkeeper Carl Wilson to get his side up to 212.
Norfolk's reply was a story of plenty of decent partnerships without the really telling one required for a successful run chase.
After James Spelman had gone early for just seven, France and Sam Arthurton put on 35 for the second wicket – but that was as good as it got for Norfolk as they slipped to a 25-run defeat.
Arthurton was out for 18 with the score on 45 and when Harry Bush (13) and France (41) both went with the total still in double figures the writing was clearly on the wall for the visitors.
Swardeston youngster Jordan Taylor batted well at six to make the top score of 42, but wickets continued to fall at regular intervals at the other end as six Lincolnshire bowlers got in on the act.
Stolworthy and Sam Groves kept Norfolk alive with a brave last-wicket stand of 19, but in the end time ran out, with 25 still needed when the visitors were finally dismissed.