Norfolk’s campaign gets off to disappointing start against Hertfordshire

Action from the Norfolk V Hertfordshire cricket match. Norfolk batsman Lewis Denmark. Picture: DENIS

Action from the Norfolk V Hertfordshire cricket match. Norfolk batsman Lewis Denmark. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

Norfolk fell short with both bat and ball at a chilly Manor Park yesterday as their MCCA Knock-out Trophy campaign got off to a disappointing start.

Chris Brown's side will probably need to win all three of their remaining matches to make it through to the quarter-finals after opponents Hertfordshire came away with a deserved five-wicket win from this opening encounter.

After winning the toss and deciding to bat Norfolk could only reach 247-8 in their 50 overs, with James Spelman (68) and Harry Bush (48) the only batsman to pass 30. And the bowlers, with the notable exception of Ashley Watson, also failed to fire on all cylinders, with the visitors getting to 100 without loss – and then shrugging off a rush of dismissals to see out the game with a degree of comfort as Daniel Blacktopp and Ben Frazer put on an unbroken stand of 90 for the sixth wicket.

'It was a disappointing day all around and I can't really complain about the result,' admitted Brown afterwards.

'I thought we were 20 or 30 runs short with the bat – there were too many dot balls and we kept losing wickets at important times.

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'Then, as a bowling unit, we didn't really perform as well as we should have. It just wasn't there today although I must say that Ashley Watson did bowl well. Hertfordshire played well to chase down the total and congratulations to them. We have certainly got a lot of things to work on and all we can do now is focus on Suffolk next Sunday and make sure we are better down there. We lost the first game last year and still qualified for the quarter-finals so there is still everything to play for.'

Norfolk's innings was built around a fine knock spanning 110 balls from Spelman who stepped up to the plate after Ben France and Sam Arthurton both went in their teens and Garry Park was dismissed for a duck.

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Bush also played well before falling just two short of a half century while a quick-fire partnership of 41 for the eighth wicket between Brown and Watson at least ensured there was a degree of respectatability to Norfolk's total.

Hertfordshire put themselves firmly in the driving seat as openers Nesan Jeyaratnam and Eddie Ballard took them to three figures – but the latter's dismissal sparked a collapse to 158 for five, as a string of fine catches kept the home side in the hunt. The pick was a superb diving effort in the deep from Jordan Taylor to get rid of the hard-hitting Jeyaratnam off the bowling of Bush for 72 but sadly magic moments like that were few and far between for the shivering spectators.

From the moment Frazer joined Blacktopp in the middle Hertfordshire had an assured look about them and the pair played beautifully to see their side home with almost four overs to spare, with Frazer getting a well deserved half century.

It was a disappointing finale for a Norfolk side who had suffered a blow the previous day when paceman Kieran Bunting was forced to pull out of the squad after sustaining a torn tricep muscle while playing for his club Great Witchingham.

All they can do now is write this one off – and focus on getting things right next Sunday at Ipswich School.

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