Arthurton’s unbeaten century puts Norfolk in position of strength
- Credit: Archant
Norfolk opener Sam Arthurton passed 800 Minor Counties Championship runs for the season on Monday after another superb display in his side's final game.
Norfolk opener Sam Arthurton passed 800 Minor Counties Championship runs for the season on Monday after another superb display in their final match.
The Great Witchingham batsman was unbeaten on exactly 100 as his side finished the second day of their fixture against Bedfordshire at Luton in a position of strength.
An unbroken second wicket partnership of 125 with Tom New helped Norfolk to an impressive 147-1 at stumps, a lead of 161 after spin duo Ashley Watson and Chris Brown had put in a marathon stint to restrict the hosts to just 225-5 in their 90 overs.
But it was very much Arthurton's day, with the Championship's leading scorer by some distance turning on the style again to register his third century of the season, after being dismissed for just two in the first innings.
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In a match notable for a low scoring rate the talented opener took just 142 balls to get to three figures, with 16 fours and a six helping him along the way.
He now has 802 Championship runs to his name in 2018 at an average of 89.11, putting him 180 ahead of his nearest challenger Joe Kendall of Lincolnshire.
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After the early loss of Jason Reynolds for seven Arthurton received excellent support from county professional New, who made an unbeaten 35 as Norfolk scored at a rate of around three-and-half an over to set up a fascinating final day.
It was all a big contrast to Bedfordshire's first innings, with the home batsmen struggling along at about half that rate before some late hitting took them to within 14 runs of Norfolk's total of 239.
Watson and Brown sent down all but eight of the 66 overs bowled and their accuracy made it a real struggle for the hosts, even though they only lost four wickets after starting the day on 47-1.
The nature of the game was summed up by the innings of Jack Keeping, who entered the fray after his side had lost two quick wickets to slip to 75-3 after Andy Hanby and Watson had got two lbw decisions in quick succession. The No 4 faced 87 deliveries but there was not a boundary in sight as his marathon knock produced just 11 runs.
Andy Reynoldson also found it tough going, but he accelerated over the final few overs with a flurry of boundaries to finish unbeaten on 87, while Matt Taylor smashed 24 in an unbroken sixth wicket stand of 58.
Watson followed up his unbeaten 67 on Sunday with an excellent return of 3-90 in 38 overs while skipper Brown also bowled well without success, finishing with figures of 0-76 in 29 overs on the penultimate day of his Norfolk playing career.
The challenge now is to bow out on a winning note - and the outgoing skipper will be hoping for more quick runs on Tuesday morning to set up a challenging declaration.