Norfolk beat Linconshire inside two days in opening Festival of Cricket game
- Credit: Archant
Norfolk made it a dream start to the annual Festival of Cricket when they beat Lincolnshire inside two days at Manor Park on Monday.
Ashley Watson's side moved up to second in the Minor Counties Championship East Division table after completing an impressive nine wicket triumph at Manor Park.
They started the day seven runs ahead with five first innings wickets in hand and went on to stretch their advantage to 67 before bowling out their visitors for just 172, with Watson taking seven wickets. Norfolk were left with 106 to chase and knocked off the runs required with the minimum of fuss, with Sam Arthurton making a fine unbeaten 68.
Watson had added one run to the overnight total when Will Rogers was caught by Carl Wilson off Usman Arshad chasing a wide delivery while Brett Stolworthy also went cheaply, caught by Dan Freeman off Arshad with the score on 178. Sam Groves then dug in with skipper Watson and the pair added 38 before Groves was caught by Freeman off Sriv Thakor for 12.
Watson was striking the ball well but running out of partners and his determined 43 not out saw Norfolk up to 225.
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The Lincolnshire reply got of to a steady start, with openers Jack Timby and Joe Kendall adding 43 for the first wicket before Watson trapped Timby LBW for 27. Thakor soon followed in the last over before lunch when he was bowled by Watson for eight.
Watson continued his superb spell, claiming the wickets of Keast and Kendall to reduce Lincolnshire to 69-4. Stolworthy then got in on the act when he had Adam Tillcock caught by keeper Sam Groves for one.
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After Watson removed Freeman for 21 Andy Hanby was brought back into the attack and yorked Ben Coddington for 38 before trapping Matt Fowler LBW for 1. It just remained for Watson to take the final wicket in a career best performance of 7-58 from 22.3 overs.
Both Matt Plater and Arthurton made batting look easy as they set about the Lincolnshire attack. Plater fell to Arshad with the score on 88 but by this time victory was assured. Arthurton saw Norfolk over the line with a splendid knock which included seven fours and one six.
It was a fine all round performance by Norfolk that leaves them well placed to challenge for the title and sets up Sunday's encounter with Northumberland nicely. The excellent team spirit is there for all to see and a key factor in their positive results, with Watson's enthusiastic leadership playing a major part in the success so far.