Norfolk well placed to open Minor Counties Championship campaign with win
- Credit: Archant
Norfolk are well placed to open their Minor Counties Championship programme with a win after an excellent second day against Lincolnshire at Sleaford.
After seeing Chris Brown's side pile up an impressive 413-6 in their 90 overs for a first innings lead of 120, the defending champions then slipped to 183-7 in reply.
That means they are just 63 runs ahead going into the final day and with just three wickets to capture the visitors will surely fancy their chances of completing the job on a pitch that has already provided some help to the spinners.
Brown grabbed 5-60 on the opening day and Ashley Watson took centre stage yesterday with figures of 5-40 as Lincolnshire struggled to match their opponents' excellence with the bat.
Resuming on 160-1, with Sam Arthurton just 14 short of three figures, Norfolk simply carried on the good work, with their long serving opener supported by a number of willing partners as he got all the way up to 155.
Stand-in professional Tom New marked his debut by scoring 55 in 94 balls to help add 111 for the second wicket, a second successive century stand after Arthurton and Jason Reynolds had put on 136.
Arthurton then added a further 73 with Will Rogers - another new face - before his superb innings came to an end when he was bowled by Alex Willerton. He had face 227 balls and recorded 23 fours and two sixes.
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Ben France (14) came and went quickly, while Rogers was eventually caught behind for 40, but with the score now up to 353-5, that merely set the stage for another youngster to impress.
With quick runs needed to get Norfolk over 400, Callum Metcalf duly obliged by smashing an unbeaten 52 in just 35 balls (five fours and two sixes), with the bulk coming in an unbroken seventh wicket partnership of 55 with Brett Stolworthy.
Following a job well done with the bat Norfolk had to wait for their first breakthrough as Lincolnshire openers Karanjit Bansal and Joe Kendall took the score past 50.
But the wickets then started to tumble, with Stolworthy removing both openers in combination with keeper Sam Groves,
With only Rawait Khan (57) providing any lasting resistance Watson then took five wickets, four of them leg before, to leave the hosts in all sorts of trouble at stumps.