Norfolk underway in Minor Counties Championship campaign
Norfolk's rain-hit season finally got up and running on Monday – and they made up for lost time by turning in a highly respectable showing against neighbours Suffolk.
George Walker's side suffered four wash-outs in their knock-out programme and must have felt the weather gods were against them when the first day of their opening Minor Counties Championship match of the campaign at Bury St Edmunds went the same way.
But conditions were far better yesterday and although an early shower forced players off the field for an hour in the morning there were no further interruptions, with a total of 123 overs being bowled on an extended second day.
At the end of it Norfolk were 191 runs ahead, having made 263 for six in their first innings before limiting Suffolk to 72 for two in reply.
Walker's decision to bat after winning the toss paid off as openers James Spelman and Carl Rogers put on 82 for the first wicket before the latter became the first of Chris Swallow's four victims, having made 31.
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The in-form Spelman then kept the ball rolling by adding a further 79 for the second wicket with Trevor Ward (42), top scoring with 62 to put his side in a position of some strength, although scoring was never easy on a day that produced 33 maidens overall.
After being 161 for one at one stage the visitors slipped to 175 for four, with wicketkeeper Stephen Gray going cheaply, but useful knocks from Ali Shearer (25) and Luke Caswell (37 not out) took them up past the 260 mark in their 90 overs.
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In reply Suffolk looked in some trouble with openers Tom Huggins and Ben France both back in the pavilion and just 25 on the board, pacemen Michael Eccles and Kieran Bunting taking a wicket apiece.
But then Martyn Cull and Hassan Adnan knuckled down with an unbeaten third wicket partnership of 47 to take some of the wind out of Norfolk's sails.
With just one day left a draw looks the most likely result – barring a dramatic collapse from the hosts or some inventive declarations from Walker and his opposite number Justin Bishop.
Suffolk v Norfolk
Bury St Edmunds: No play on first day, Norfolk won the toss and decided to bat
Norfolk First Innings
J M Spelman lbw b Swallow 62
C J Rogers c Bishop b Swallow 31
T R Ward c Hunn b Huggins 42
S K Gray lbw b Swallow 4
P A Lambert c Rees b Swallow 20
A E Shearer c Rees b Huggins 25
L W Caswell not out 37
G W Walker not out 6
Extras (b5, lb 2, w15, nb14) 36
Total 6 wkts (90 overs) 263
Fall: 1-82, 2-161 3171 4-175 5-212 6-239.
Bowling: Bishop 13-1-40-0, Hunn 10-2-20-0, Rash 3-0-22-0, Rees 2-0-16-0, Swallow 35-10-83-4, France 9-3-28-0, Huggins 18-5-47-2.
Suffolk First Innings
T B Huggins lbw b Eccles 14
B J France lbw b Bunting 5
M G Cull not out 25
Hassan Adnan not out 17
Extras (b7, lb 1, w1, nb2) 11
Total 2 wkts (33 overs) 72
Fall: 1-15, 2-25.
Bowling: Eccles 13-5-21-1, Bunting 10-2-23-1, Spelman 4-1-10-0, Brown 4-1-10-0, Caswell 2-2--0-0.