Norfolk turn on the style in Twenty20 double-header against Suffolk
- Credit: Archant
Norfolk's season got off to an impressive start yesterday when they recorded two emphatic wins in their Minor County Twenty20 double-header against Suffolk at Woolpit.
Ashley Watson's side were too good in all departments for a team who included England paceman Tymal Mills in their ranks as they cruised home in games that followed a remarkably similar pattern.
In each case Suffolk batted first, were dismissed for a score in the 90s and then saw their visitors seal victory with plenty of wickets in hand.
The second game was a little closer, with Norfolk taking until to fourth ball of the 18th over to settle the issue, but it was still a near faultless show from Watson's men, who will their resume their campaign at Manor Park on May 27 with matches against Cambridgeshire.
Suffolk won the toss in the first game and opted to bat on a glorious morning - but they were soon regretting their decision as Ben France and Rob Taylor struck early to reduce them to 3-2, with former Norfolk man Jaik Mickleburgh going for a duck.
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A partial recovery took the hosts up to 40 without further loss but then the wickets started tumbling again and it took an unbeaten 37 from Ben Shepperson to lift them close to three figures.
All six Norfolk bowlers did an excellent job for their side, Brett Stolworthy and Taylor leading the way with three wickets apiece while France took two and Watson and Ben Coote one.
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The visitors then had one of the fastest bowlers in the world to contend with but Mills failed to shine for his home county, conceding 26 runs in four wicketless overs.
Sam Arthurton went for just six, trapped leg before by Adam Ball, while Jason Reynolds' dismissal left Norfolk on 50-2. But the runs were coming at a good rate and hard-hitting Zimbabwean Stephan Marillier, who is newly qualified for Norfolk, took his side to the brink of victory before going just one short of his half century, caught by Jed Cawkwell off the bowling of Jake Foley. His runs came of just 37 balls, with three fours and two sixes.
The visitors passed their target off the last ball of the 12th over, finishing on 99-3.
Watson won the second toss and put Suffolk in and it was a smiliar story as Suffolk struggled to 95 all out in the final over. This time wickets fell on a regular basis throughout, with a top score of just 17 from tailender James Poulson.
Taylor once again took three wickets, Watson weighed in with a couple and Coote followed suit to finish with excellent figures for the day of five overs 3-14.
England man Mills didn't feature in the second match but strangely Suffolk went on to give a better acccount of themselves with the ball.
Marillier went for a duck and Athurton and Reynolds had to work for their runs in a second wicket stand of 66 that set up the win.
When the opener went for 28 Taylor kept Reynolds company to see out the game. He finished an excellent day on 17 not out while Reynolds made an unbeaten 41 as Norfolk matched their total of the first game for the loss of one less wicket.