Tough day for batsmen at Manor Park as Norfolk are pegged back
- Credit: Archant
Runs were at a premium as Norfolk struggled to build on their promising start on the second day of the final Festival of Cricket fixture against Cambridgeshire.
Players from both sides found it difficult to get the ball away on a slow Manor Park surface, with no fewer than 27 maidens being recorded and only 234 runs being scored in just over 94 overs.
The battle of attrition saw Norfolk get up to 238 in their first innings before the visitors recovered from a shaky start to finish on 119-3 for a lead of 91.
Having started the day less than a hundred runs in arrears with eight wickets standing, the home side will have to produce something extraordinary on the final day to get the win they require to retain any hope of challenging for the Minor Counties East Division title, with a draw looking the most likely result now.
Starting the day on 113-2, with Sam Arthurton well set on 58, Norfolk were looking to build up a sizeable first innings advantage, but with tight bowling keeping them in firmly check they could only advance at a rate of around two-and-a-half an over.
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The score had moved slowly on to 156 before Arthurton was the first man to go, caught by Josh Bowers off the bowling of Rob Sayer for 89 - and from then it was just a case of the hosts ekeing out as many runs as they could.
Jason Reynolds battled his way to 23 in 87 balls and that proved to be the second highest home score of the day as Noroflk slipped to 216-8 before a quick-fire unbeaten 16 from Ryan Findlay that included two sixes helped stretch the lead to a modest 28.
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Sayer led the Cambridgeshire bowling effort with figures of 6-83 while Paul McMahon took 2-31 in 17 accurate overs.
Norfolk's bowlers made a decent start in reply, with Andy Hanby taking two wickets and stand-in captain Ashley Watson one as the visitors were reduced to 53-3 in their second innings.
But Josh Bowers (60 not out) and Rob Sayer (19 not out) steadied the ship with an unbroken fourth wicket partnership of 66 before play was called off early because of bad light.