Norfolk complete innings victory over Hertfordshire in Minor Counties Championship

Norfolk brought the curtain down with a flourish on this year's Festival of Cricket as they beat Hertfordshire by an innings and 33 runs at Manor Park yesterday.

Victory kept George Walker's side in with an outside chance of landing the Eastern Division title – and provided a fitting finale for veteran opener Carl Rogers, who retired from county action after the game.

Norfolk had seemed on course to complete an early victory when the visitors were reduced to 50 for six having been forced to follow on. A brief fightback delayed the inevitable but a flurry of wickets saw the job done before tea on the final day.

It was Walker who broke a determined eighth wicket stand and his three wickets represented a welcome return to form after an unusually unproductive season: 'It's been a pretty lean season for myself and I'm the first to admit I've been struggling, so it was good to get three wickets in the second innings and contribute,' he said. 'It was a cracking win – full points and I'm delighted everyone played a part.'

Herts started the day needing 13 to avoid the follow-on, but the stubborn ninth wicket stand between Caleb Stewart and Usman Arif was soon broken by Ashley Watson. Chris Brown bowled Kristian Martin with the visitors still 10 runs short – and Norfolk happily asked them to bat again.

Openers Stephen Snell and Shaun Levy showed positive intent, before a distinctly unimpressed Snell was given out caught behind off Michael Warnes.

There could be no argument about the second wicket as Warnes sent Levy's off stump cartwheeling out of the ground.

Most Read

With the seamers looking dangerous, Walker wisely opted to bring Luke Caswell into the attack – and it was the defining decision of the day. The Horsford all-rounder struck in his first over as man-of-the-match Stephen Gray produced a smart stumping, before Herts skipper Andrew Lewis was trapped in front without scoring.

Caswell's next over saw the back of Stewart – out for the second time in the morning session – as Ali Shearer clung on to a catch at short leg.

Rhys Wynne was bowled to give Caswell his fourth wicket, as Herts stumbled into lunch at 61 for six.

Walker took a sharp catch off his own bowling to account for Nick Lamb, but Simon White and Simon Lindop joined forces to frustrate Norfolk for almost two hours.

A looping delivery from Walker proved too tempting for Lindop and he sliced to a diving Caswell at backward point, the partnership having produced 48 runs.

Having broken through the wall, Norfolk then steamrollered it as Walker had Usman Arif caught by Rogers at slip first ball, before Watson wrapped matters up in the next over, trapping Martin lbw.

The final match of Norfolk's Eastern Division campaign is against Bedfordshire at Luton, starting on Sunday, August 19.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter