Norfolk lose MCCA Knockout Trophy opener to Cambs
Norfolk lost by four wickets to cross-border rivals Cambridgeshire in today's MCCA Knockout Trophy group four opener at Manor Park.
George Walker's side looked to have posted a competitive 273-6 total off their 50 overs but the visitors comfortably surpassed that target with unbeaten centurion David Clarke (111 not out) pulling Paul Bradshaw through extra cover to seal the win in the penultimate over.
Cambs lost their opening group game to Lincs by 170 runs but were always up with the asking rate after Clarke and Matthew Pateman put on 93 for the second wicket partnership.
Bradshaw struck in the first over of the Cambs' reply to remove Alan Burton and Harry Bush picked up two quick middle order wickets to threaten a home fightback, but Paul McMahon provided solid support to Clarke with an unbroken 56-run winning stand.
Norfolk's former skipper Carl Rogers (68) top scored for the hosts – thanks largely to a 79-run third wicket partnership alongside fellow top order bastman Trevor Ward (32) which formed the spine of the hosts' total.
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Chris Borrett (29), Sam Arthurton (45) and Bush (50 not out) all contributed with vital middle order runs on an early season Horsford track that looked conducive to batting. Walker had no hesitation in batting first after winning the toss against a visiting outfit looking to bounce back from that heavy reverse to Lincs.
Swardeston's big-hitting Peter Lambert (10) went cheaply on his county one-day debut along with James Spelman (five) – lbw to impressive spinner Lewis Bruce who was the pick of the Cambs' bowling attack with 4-46 off his ten overs.
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Experienced pair Rogers and Ward constructed a chanceless half century partnership with the Great Witchingham opener bringing up his personal landmark with a clip into mid wicket in the 28th over.
Bruce checked the home surge when he dismissed both Rogers and Ward within three overs – Ward rashly mistiming a quicker delivery pouched by McMahon at mid on.
Borrett was granted an early life when he was dropped in the deep without scoring before belligerently marching down the track to carry the fight – John Carpenter hit through long off twice for boundaries in the 38th over.
Borrett eventually perished attempting to work Carpenter away but youngsters Arthurton and Bush continued to accelerate the rate through Norfolk's batting powerplay – adding 39 runs in a five over spell to set up a final push.
Arthurton was pinned back in his crease by the accurate Bruce, but Bush bludgeoned a half century, ably assisted by Stephen Gray, to give Norfolk plenty of momentum going into the Cambs' reply which started perfectly when Bradshaw's pace deceived Burton.
Clarke survived a huge lbw shout from the Mallards' paceman but then proceeeded to club Bradshaw through long on to bring up the visitors' half century.
Walker and Brown were introduced in a double spin assault to stem the early flow and it was Brown who made the much-needed breakthrough when he removed Pateman (50) in the 20th over.
Clarke reverse paddle swept Brown for his half century before the big-hitting Nick Ferraby despatched first Brown and then Rogers over the boundary rope with Cambs looking to take the game away from Norfolk.
Bush tempted Ferraby into one big shot too many as Ward took a composed catch in the deep which sparked a minor middle order collapse – Bruce and Michael Cafferkey going cheaply to give Norfolk renewed hope.
Clarke moved serenely into the 90s to leave Cambs needing 73 runs off the remaining 60 balls with five wickets in hand. John Carpenter hammered Bush to the ropes in the first ball of the visitors' batting power play. Brown did trap the Rushton man plumb in front but McMahon and Clarke's well-paced stand took Cambs to victory with eight balls to spare.