Norfolk’s MCCA Knockout Trophy hopes blown away

Norfolk's slender hopes of reaching the last eight of the Minor Counties one-day competition were blown away by neighbours Suffolk at windswept Manor Park yesterday.

Norwich City may have emphatically gained the upper hand on the football field when it comes to derby rivalry, but the men in whites struck a blow for those south of the border with a 57-run victory in the MCCA Knockout Trophy Group Four match.

It meant three defeats in three group matches for George Walker's team and, though they have one more limited-overs fixture to fulfil against Lincolnshire at Bracebridge Heath next Sunday, Norfolk can progress no further in a competition they have won five times, most recently in 2009.

Suffolk, put into bat, recovered from a poor start to make 263 for four in 50 overs, plundering no fewer than 114 runs from the final 10 overs, with skipper Justin Bishop top scoring with 98 not out.

Norfolk lost both openers cheaply when they replied and although they were well placed thanks to a polished third-wicket stand of 95 between James Spelman (47) and Trevor Ward (51), the dismissal of those two key batsmen in successive overs was to prove a turning point.

Despite a valiant effort in the middle-order from 18-year-old Sam Arthurton (28) and Harry Bush (31), they fell well short and were bowled out for 206 with six overs to spare.

Walker has endured a difficult start to his reign as captain and admitted: 'The only thing I'm winning at the moment is the toss.

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'We're all pretty disappointed. Suffolk made probably 20 or 30 runs too many but we still thought if a couple of players played themselves in, we'd have a chance. We looked at a couple of stages as if we were in with a shout but we seemed to lose wickets in twos, which set us back.

'James and Trevor were going nicely, and then Sam and Stephen Gray went when we were getting going. And when Harry Bush was out during the powerplay at the end, that was near enough the final nail.

'We had three or four starts and you hope at least one of them would have kicked on but it's a bowlers' game as well.

'Apart from James Spelman, who bowled fantastically, we can maybe all hold our hands up.'

Walker's decision to invite Suffolk to bat looked to have paid dividends in the second over of the day when Paul Bradshaw removed Ben France and John Sadler for ducks with his first two balls to reach 100 wickets in the competition for Norfolk.

Opener Tom Huggins and Martyn Cull led a steady recovery with a partnership of 50 before Spelman bowled Cull for 21 in the 15th over.

Spelman's figures of one for 18 from 10 overs of medium pace made him the pick of the bowlers, but he was out of the attack long before the real assault began, while debutant Michael Warnes, troubled by wides, still bowled slightly better than his figures suggested.

Huggins and Bishop added 133 for the fourth wicket before off-spinner Chris Brown had Huggins caught behind for 78, but the slow bowlers' analyses suffered most.

Bishop and Chris Warn added 75 from the last six and a half overs, Warn hitting two huge sixes and a four from the last three balls of the innings to leave Brown with figures of one for 72.

Carl Rogers fell to a smart catch by France from the second ball of Norfolk's reply, while Peter Lambert's dismissal left them 14 for two in the fourth over, but Spelman and Ward – who struck one six and eight fours in his 51 – restored the balance of play and looked untroubled until they departed in successive overs.

Arthurton and Bush kept their side in contention with a fifth-wicket stand of 51, but when Arthurton was adjudged lbw to Chris Swallow and Gray followed in the next over, the writing was on the wall.

Suffolk

T B Huggins c Gray b Brown 78

B J France c Arthurton b Bradshaw 0

J L Sadler b Bradshaw 0

M G Cull b Spelman 21

J E Bishop not out 98

C J Warn not out 39

Extras b2 lb9 nb4 w 12 27

Total 4 wkts (50 overs) 263

Fall: 1-5 2-5 3-55 4-188

Bowling: Warnes 9-0-51-0, Bradshaw 10-1-43-2, Spelman 10-3-18-1, Walker 6-0-35-0, Brown 10-0-72-1, Rogers 5-0-33-0.

Norfolk

C J Rogers c France b Osbourne 0

P A Lambert b Stephens 4

J M Spelman c Bishop b France 47

T R Ward c and b Finch 51

S S Arthurton lbw b Swallow 28

H Bush b Bishop 31

S K Gray b Finch 2

G W Walker c Warn b Osbourne 23

C Brown st Warn b Bishop 0

P J Bradshaw b Osbourne 3

M W Warnes not out 0 Extras lb7 w 10 17

Total (44 overs) 206

Fall: 1-0 2-24 3-109 4-111 5-162 6-165 7-199 8-199 9-206

Bowling: Osbourne 8-0-47-3, Stephens 4-0-22-1, France 9-1-27-1, Bishop 6-0-25-2, Swallow 7-0-44-1, Finch 10-0-34-2.