Norfolk suffer second straight Minor Counties defeat
Norfolk skipper George Walker was left to rue a poor batting display in today's comprehensive eight wicket MCCA Knockout Trophy defeat to table-topping Berkshire.
Walker conceded Norfolk must now rely on other results to revive faint hopes of a quarter-final berth in this season's competition after a second straight group four defeat.
Norfolk limped to 182 all out in their 50 overs - wicket keeper Stephen Gray offering stoic resistance (70 not out) - but the hosts cruised home with nearly ten overs to spare.
Berks' Zimbabwean captain Bjorn Mordt ripped out Norfolk's middle order as four wickets fell for 22 runs before ex-England spinner Shaun Udal finally removed Swardeston's impressive opener Peter Lambert (44). Gray and Paul Bradshaw edged Norfolk to a respectable total – but Walker acknowledged the damage had been done.
'They played well but having won the toss on a decent pitch we didn't bat like we should have done at all and left ourselves in a really difficult position,' he said. 'I think the batters would hold up their hands and say there were some poor shots played and that was a little bit uncharacteristic. I know these things can happen but it all seemed to happen for us in the one innings and we could never recover. We bowled and fielded reasonably well but there was no pressure on them. They didn't have to take risks.
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'When we were 100-odd for eight we did well to get up to 180 in the end. Peter Lambert survived when all the carnage was going on around him and Stephen did well with Paul. We managed to get to about 50-2 and were starting to look okay, but then we lost three or four wickets far too quickly and too easily in my opinion and that just made it very tough.'
Norfolk's attack was unable to make early inroads, although Berks' opener David Barnes (83 not out) survived a nick which appeared to carry to Trevor Ward in the slips cordon.
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'The umpires didn't think it had carried,' said Walker. 'I couldn't quite tell from where I was but a couple of the lads said it had. Wardy at second slip is an honest lad who has played the game for a number of years and he would certainly not wish to see someone get out for something like that. Whether or not it would have made a difference, we'll never know, but we had to attack because we needed wickets. We kept it tight early on but the pitch was too good and we would never have been able to contain them.'
Norfolk must now beat old foes Suffolk and Lincolnshire in their remaining group matches to stand any chance of further progress in the one-day competition alongside likely pool winners Berks.
'I believe the other results in the group mean we still have an outside chance,' said Walker. 'Whilst it's still a chance we have to approach those last two games believing we can win. Suffolk is always a game you look forward to. We just have to pick ourselves up now.'