Norfolk forced to settle for draw after exciting final day at Manor Park
- Credit: Archant
Rob Taylor and Lewis Denmark recorded their second century partnership of the match at Manor Park yesterday - but it wasn't enough to secure victory for Norfolk.
Having been set 324 to win in a minimum of 67 overs by Bedfordshire, the hosts had half a chance of coming out on top when the in-form pair were in full flight.
But once they were dismissed with over 100 runs still required it quickly became a battle for survival, with skipper Chris Brown securing a hard-fought draw in the company of Ben Coote as Norfolk finished on 252-8.
A sporting lunchtime declaration from Bedfordshire, which challenged Brown's men to score at just under five an over, set the scene for an exiting conclusion to the Festival of Cricket following a draw and a defeat in the opening two fixtures.
When Norfolk slipped to 66-3 in the 19th over, with James Spelman, Sam Arthurton and James Hale all back in the pavilion, their chances didn't look good - but another excellent fourth wicket stand between Taylor and Denmark gave them renewed hope.
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They followed a partnership of 110 on Monday with 104 this time around, with Taylor adding 75 to his earlier 76 and Denmark 50 to his 43 as Norfolk gave themselves a chance of victory.
By the time Taylor was fifth man out with the score on 201, having hit six fours and two sixes, it was still very much game on, with 123 runs required in just under 20 overs.
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But the exits of Ben France (19) and Ollie Stone (16) ended any realistic hopes of victory and when Brett Stolworthy was stumped for a duck Brown's side were struggling on 236-8 with, as it turned out, nearly 15 overs still to be bowled.
It was then time for a rethink and Brown and Coote knuckled down to ensure both sides came away from the game with 10 points for a draw.
Earlier James Kettleborough had taken centre stage to put Bedfordshire in a position where they were able to declare early.
Starting the day on 54 he went on to make 135 before being caught by Arthurton off Taylor, with his side going on to pass the 300 mark, having started on 111-3. Andy Reynoldson was the other Beds star, contributing 83 to a fourth wicket stand of 161.