Norfolk complete Festival rout of Lincolnshire
- Credit: Archant
Has there been a better Norfolk Festival than this since the annual celebration of Minor Counties cricket moved to Manor Park in 2000?
No doubt there must have been others to have left supporters counting their memberships as money well spent. But by completing an over-whelming 259-run thumping of Lincolnshire yesterday, Chris Brown's men at least left members with plenty to talk about through the winter months.
There was the thrilling run-fest against Northumberland which included three centuries before 16-year-old debutant Callum Taylor swept Norfolk to a four-wickets win with a breathtaking unbeaten 48.
There were two more centuries in a fascinating tussle with defending Eastern Division champions Buckinghamshire, which Norfolk looked well set to win until rain ended their hopes on the last day.
And the last instalment was a game which Norfolk dominated from start to finish, including a chanceless unbeaten ton by Sam Arthurton, a farewell 91 from Trevor Ward and some unbelievable catches – though the unquestioned man of the match honours went to Peter Lambert after he followed his first innings 58 with 80 off 43 balls in the second.
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Norfolk were made to wait for the breakthrough yesterday as Sam Evison (40) and Matt Lineker (41) put on 76 for the second wicket. But once Luke Caswell and Ben France had seen to them the spinners took over and, with blood in their nostrils, finished the job in style.
Conrad Louth's 37 helped delay the inevitable but Ryan Findlay followed his wicket with three more for a Championship personal best of 4-59 while Brown took 3-24.
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France added to the game's catalogue of fine catches by brilliantly diving at cover point to dismiss Lincs skipper Ollie Burford for a duck and James Spelman claimed three more close rangers as the Norfolk field closed in for the kill.
'It has been a superb Festival,' said Brown. 'We've played a really exciting brand of cricket throughout and hopefully everyone has enjoyed it. But for the rain on the last day of the Bucks game we'd have won all three – but two from three's not bad.
'I feel this been a coming of age for many of our players. Jason Blake was superb behind the stumps yet again and has certainly made the gloves his own for some time to come, Ryan Findlay and Peter Lambert have both been outstanding and Sam Arthurton played beautifully in both innings. I also thought the side showed a lot of character to bounce back as they have after losing the first two games.'
Norfolk finish the season at Old Hill against Staffordshire on August 18-20.
Norfolk v Lincolnshire, final day
Manor Park: Norfolk won toss
Overnight: Norfolk 299 (TR Ward 91, PA Lambert 58) & 295-4 dec (S Arthurton 104no, PA Lambert 80); Lincs 160 (MS Lineker 50, Eccles 4-37) & 39-1.
Lincolnshire 2nd innings contined
SC Evison lbw b Caswell 40
MS Lineker b France 41
CJ Louth c Caswell b Findlay 37
JR Cheer b Brown 11
OE Burford c France b Findlay 0
LG Bramley c Spelman b Findlay 2
BW Houston c France b Findlay 9
HL Clewett c Spelman b Brown 5
M Carter c Spelman b Brown 4
AB Shepherd not out 0
Extras (6b 3lb 2nb) 11
Total (73.1 overs) 175
Fall: 1-23, 2-99, 3-107 4-155 5-155 6-157 7-157 8-167 9-175
Bowling: Eccles 12-3-34-0, Bunting 5-2-12-0, France 13-7-22-2, Findlay 20-9-59-4, Brown 19.1-10-25-3, Caswell 4-0-14-1.
Norfolk (23 points) beat Lincs (4 points) by 259 runs.