Norfolk’s bid to reach Twenty20 Finals Day will go to final weekend

Recent recruit Stephan Marillier on the attack for Norfolk during what was a disappointing day for t

Recent recruit Stephan Marillier on the attack for Norfolk during what was a disappointing day for the hosts. Picture: TIM FERLEY - Credit: Archant

Norfolk's bid to reach the grand final of the revamped Minor Counties Twenty20 competition is still very much alive after another excellent performance on the road.

Ashley Watson's side produced the perfect response to last week's double disappointment at the hands of Cambridgeshire at Manor Park by winning both games against Bedfordshire at Dunstable.

Having also completed the double over Suffolk at Woolpit in their opening fixtures Norfolk now have eight points in the bag, exactly the same as all their rivals in Group Three apart from Bedfordshire, who have lost all six.

It means everything will be decided on the final day of qualifying on Sunday, June 17 when Norfolk entertain Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire are at home to the group whipping boys.

With only one team reaching the national final at Wormsley on Sunday, August 26, Norfolk need to beat Hertfordshire twice at Manor Park, while hoping Cambridgeshire lose one of their games, to make it through.

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If they share the spoils in their final double header then it will all come down to run rate unless Cambs claim two wins while two defeats would end any hopes of qualifying.

Suffolk are out of the equation, having completed their programme with four wins and four defeats.

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Norfolk recorded two comprehensive victories yesterday when batting second, the first by six wickets and the second by nine.

Bedfordshire were restricted to 96-6 in their 20 overs in the morning game following a disciplined bowling performance, with Norfolk then knocking off the runs required with four down in just 14.2 overs.

The home side did better after lunch as they got up to 126-9, with Ben France weighing in with three wickets, but again Watson's men chased the target down with the minimum of fuss, getting home off the second ball of the 18th over.

Stephan Marillier was the only Norfolk player to be dismissed second time around, caught by Nick Barden off Tom Rivett for 46, but fellow opener Sam Arthurton was there at the close on 43 in the company of Jason Reynolds on 32.

Norfolk must now switch their focus to the 50 overs per side Minor Counties Knock-out Trophy, with a quarter-final coming up against Shropshire at Manor Park next Sunday (11am).

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