Norfolk encounter some overdue resistance after enforcing follow on

Young seamer Freddie Ruffell made his senior Norfolk debut at Jesmond. Picture: Tim Ferley

Young seamer Freddie Ruffell made his senior Norfolk debut at Jesmond. Picture: Tim Ferley - Credit: Archant

Norfolk face a tough battle to force victory in their final Minor Counties Championship match of the season at Jesmond - despite forcing Northumberland to follow-on.

The hosts were dismissed for just 86 in their first innings after seeing the visitors make 303 and then slipped to 58-3 after being asked to bat again.

At that stage a two-day victory looked a possibility but home skipper Jacques du Toit then led some overdue resistance to guide his side to 206-4 at the close.

When bad light ended play early Northumberland were just 11 runs in arrears, and with the former Leicestershire batsman having passed three figures, and partner Tom Cant also well set, Norfolk's bowlers will have to be at their best on the final day to come out on top.

When play resumed the hosts quickly lurched from 34-6 to 42-8, with Rob Taylor claiming a couple of wickets to go with the two he took in a dramatic final session on Sunday.

A ninth wicket partnership of 37 between Cant (30) and Sean Tindale (22 not out) then forced Brown to give opening bowlers Taylor and Ben France their first rest, and it was Ben Coote and Brett Stolworthy who eventually wrapped up the innings. France, who didn't add to his overnight haul, finished with figures of 4-39 from his 19 overs while Taylor took 4-35 from 18.

Not surprisingly Chris Brown asked Northumberland to bat again and after reaching 43 without loss they suddenly started to look vulnerable again. Coote removed both openers, and Stolworthy also got in on the act to leave the hosts 159 runs in arrears with seven wickets in hand.

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It was then that South African-born du Toit took centre stage. The former County Championship player found a willing ally in Alex Simpson and together they put on 61 for the fourth wicket to change the complexion of the match.

Simpson was eventually bowled by Taylor for 24 but Cant then followed up his solid first innings knock with an unbeaten 25 as a further 87 was added in an unbroken fifth wicket partnership.

The star of the show, however, was du Toit who finished unbeaten on 101, having faced just 96 balls. His innings included 13 fours and four sixes - and Norfolk will be desperate to see the back of him quickly today.

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