Norfolk rally to set up exciting final day of Hertfordshire clash

Michael Eccles took two wickets on the second day of Norfolk's match at Herts. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Michael Eccles took two wickets on the second day of Norfolk's match at Herts. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Norfolk have forced themselves back into contention in their three-day match at Hertfordshire, after a strong fightback with the bat.

The first day of the Unicorns Minor Counties Championship clash at Harpenden had seen Norfolk bowled out for 197 and the home side on 82-2 overnight, after Ben France and Ashley Watson took a late wicket each.

Herts then made a steady start to day two and put on another 53 runs before Michael Eccles struck with the first of his three wickets on the day.

France also took another two wickets, to take his total for the innings to three, as Norfolk's bowlers made decent progress and eventually saw Herts reach 274-8 in their 90 overs.

With a 77-run deficit to start making up, Norfolk went on to finish the day 96 runs ahead at 173-3 and set up a potentially exciting final day.

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Openers Peter Lambert and James Spelman put on 48 before Lambert went for 31. Skipper Garry Park, standing in for the injured Chris Brown, then built a partnership of 42 with Spelman to take Norfolk into the lead.

Spelman went for 37 but Park then kept the innings ticking over nicely with a 49-run partnership with France, who went for 25.

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Park reached his half century before the close of play to rest on 58 over night, with debutant Jordan Taylor alongside him, who successfully got off the mark after a duck in the first innings to finish the day on 11.

Brown, watching from the sidelines while his calf injury recovers, said: 'The lads did all-right today. The first session this morning I thought we were bowling pretty well but unfortunately we didn't take our chances.

'There were probably two or three half-chances and a couple of easy chances that, if we had taken, they wouldn't have had the lead they did. But in terms of the bowling unit, they stuck to their task and bowled okay.'

Now both teams have the chance to try and force a win in the final day, with sunny spells and only an occasional risk of showers during the afternoon predicted for the Harpenden area.

Brown added: 'We showed a lot of character and it's important that tomorrow Garry Park and Jordan Taylor kick on and take the partnership deep into the innings.

'We said in our team talk after the game that if someone had offered us this situation this morning, we would have taken it, 100 per cent.'

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