Norfolk aiming to keep up the good work at Manor Park
- Credit: Archant
Norfolk are ready for a different sort of one-day challenge on Sunday - having passed their first test of the season with flying colours.
Ashley Watson's side hit the ground running in the revamped Minor Counties Unicorns Twenty20 competition earlier this month, playing some excellent cricket to beat neighbours Suffolk twice in a double-header at Woolpit.
That has put them in good heart for the next installment of the competition against Cambridgeshire at Manor Park on May 27 - but before that there's the opening 50 overs per side match of the campaign against Bedfordshire at the same venue this weekend (11am). With the group phases having been replaced by a straight knock-out format there will be no room for error, with a home quarter-final against either Hertfordshire or Oxfordshire awaiting the winners on June 10.
'It's a game we are all really looking forward to,' said Watson. 'We will go into it full of confidence after the wins against Suffolk and will be looking for another positive result. The weather also looks set fair, which is good.
'Considering we didn't have any warm-up matches because of the weather it really was an excellent performance from the team in the opening Twenty20 games. We bowled and batted well, the fielding was excellent - it was everything I could have asked for.
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'The target is to have a competitive team in all three formats of the game and we certainly showed what we could do in the shortest format. Now there's another challenge and although we will respect the opposition, as we always do, it's a game I think we can win.'
Norfolk have made just one-change to the 12-strong squad that represented the county at Woolpit, with Swardeston batsman Jordan Taylor, who was unavailable last time out, coming in for the injured Matt Plater. That means Zimbabwe-born Stephan Marillier is set for his home debut at the ground where he plays his club cricket, having marked his first game with a quick-fire 49 against Suffolk.
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Norfolk (from): S Arthurton, J Taylor, S Marillier, J Reynolds, R Taylor, L Denmark, A Watson (capt), B France, B Coote, B Stolworthy, S Groves, R Findlay.
Norfolk Seniors have had mixed fortunes in their early fixtures.
The over-60s were well beaten by a strong Hertfordshire team.
John Lund (31) and Andy King (37) opened the Norfolk innings and put on 59 while Clive Bennett later made 59 in a total of 182-7, a target the hosts passed for the loss of just one wicket with 12 overs to spare.
The over-60s seconds entertained Warwickshire at Mundford and made 201-9, with Geoff Roper (47) and Tony Crockett (26) putting on 85 for the first wicket and Neil Wynn making 47. Warwickshire started strongly and reached 92 before Wynn took three quick wickets. Good bowling meant they required eight from the final over and Wynn restricted them to only six to seal an excellent game by two runs.
The over-70s had a five hour journey to Cadnam in Hampshire. The home side batted well in making 210-5, with Ian Parkin taking 2-31. In reply Norfolk faced a very accurate attack and were always struggling to score. Derek Dewson top scored with 59 as the visitors finished on 134-4.