Brown plays a key role as Norfolk win his final match in charge
- Credit: Tim Ferley
Chris Brown enjoyed a memorable final afternoon as Norfolk captain as he helped them to an impressive 114-run victory over Bedfordshire at Luton.
Chris Brown enjoyed a memorable final afternoon as Norfolk captain as he helped his side to an impressive 114-run victory over Bedfordshire at Luton on Tuesday.
The long serving skipper bowed out on a high note with figures of 4-22 in 14 overs, while fellow spinner Ashley Watson also did his county proud by taking 4-39.
Working in tandem, the spinners reduced the hosts from 144-3 to 169 all out to turn what looked like being a tame draw into a third win of the Minor Counties Championship campaign.
A pleasing end to Brown's 17-year stint as a Norfolk player enabled his side to secure a fifth placed finish in the East Division, 21 points adrift of champions Lincolnshire, a side they beat comfortably in their opening fixture.
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Norfolk had started the day with a lead of 161 and with Sam Arthurton and Tom New both well set knew quick runs were required to give themselves plenty of time to bowl out the opposition.
Arthurton managed to add 20 to his overnight 100 before being stumped, leaving him with a magnificent 822 runs for the season, while New powered on to move from 35 overnight to an unbeaten 114 as Brown declared on 269-5 for a lead of 283.
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It completed an excellent season for the county professional, who proved a more than adequate replacement for the unavailable Rob Taylor as he contributed 496 runs at an average of 55.
Bedfordshire made a soild start in reply, with opener Luke Thomas taking centre stage as they passed three figures for the loss of only two wickets.
Seamers Andy Hanby and Ben France accounted for James Kettleborough and Ben Mansell respectively, but when Thomas was going well with Matt Taylor the season look set for a low-key finish.
But Brown then grabbed the crucial wicket of Taylor for 30 - one of six lbw decisions that went in Norfolk's favour - to leave Bedfordshire on 107-3. It was still looking reasonably comfortable for the hosts as Thomas added a further 37 with Drew Brierley (21) - but when Brown had the star man caught by Will Rogers for 77 the rot quickly set in.
Watson had Brierley caught by Chris Read and from then on it was something of a procession, with Watson taking three more wickets and Brown two as the final five wickets tumbled for just 21 runs.