Norfolk v Lincolnshire day one report: Ward’s big farewell falls short of ton

Trevor Ward has decided to call it a day after nearly a decade of fine service.

Trevor Ward has decided to call it a day after nearly a decade of fine service. - Credit: Archant © 2008

Trevor Ward came within nine runs of marking his final Norfolk Festival match with another century after deciding to retire from all forms of cricket at the age of 45.

The former Leicestershire star, who first played for Norfolk 'just to help out' for the 2004 Festival after retiring from First Class cricket, ended up sticking around to become a popular fixture on the Minor Counties scene.

But he admitted after being out for 91 against Buckinghamshire at Manor Park yesterday that his appearance against Staffordshire at Old Hill later this month will be his last.

'The body's just gone and the mind's finding it a lot harder to get motivated, so it's time to go,' he said. 'My form has been OK but I've not played as well this year as I have in previous years. You know within yourself if you're struggling and I don't want to get to the stage where I'm letting my own standards slip. I feel I'm in danger of getting to that stage now. '

Ward admits he could not have dreamed, back in 2004, that the favour asked by then Norfolk skipper Paul Newman would have led to nearly a decade in county colours.

'I had no ambition to play Minor Counties cricket,' he said.'It was just a chance phone call from Judge asking me to help out in the Festival of 2004. I thought it would just be a one off but that winter Judge called again to ask if I'd like to come and pro for them the next year, I said we'd see how it goes.I certainly didn't think I would still be here nine years later!'

Ward, who has already scored one Festival century this year against Northumberland, showed his frustration when dismissed after putting on 98 for the fourth wicket with Peter Lambert (58).

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But he insists it wasn't the thought of missing a farewell Manor Park ton, saying: 'It would have been nice to get another hundred but I was mainly frustrated because I didn't feel I was going to be got out. It was my mistake – that's what's frustrating. But if'd you'd offered me 91 at the start of the day I'd have bitten your arm off.'

Norfolk had recovered well from the freak early dismissal of James Spelman – run out by a deflection off bowler Adam Shepherd when backing up. Sam Arthurton (38) and Ben France (41) also made key contributions to the first session.

But when Ward went, having scored his 91 off 72 balls in 87 minutes with 13 boundaries, Norfolk slumped from 233-3 to 299 all out with only Luke Caswell (28) and Ryan Findlay (17) offering any resistance before the tail disappeared without trace, the last four wickets adding only 15 runs.

Norfolk did, however, strike instantly with the ball with Sam Arthurton taking a sharp catch off Michael Eccles to dismiss Akhil Patel for one with only two on the board.

The other opener, Jonathan Cheer, didn't last much longer before being caught behind by Jason Blake off Ben France. for six And Conrad Louth became another victim of Arthurton's safe hands off Kieran Bunting for nine,

But the prolific scoring young left-hander Matt Lineker brought Lincs back with a stylish 50 off 55 balls before the first introduction of spin paid dividends.

In Ryan Findlay's first over Lineker brought up his half century with a lofted four before belting the next ball into the midriff of Spelman, who showed great courage and reactions to hold on to the catch at short-square leg to leave Lincs on 75-4

Lincs skipper Ollie Burford, who is also retiring at the end of the season, though only from Minor Counties cricket, joined with Sam Evison to take the score on to 123 before the latter was trapped leg before by Eccles in the penultimate over of the day for 33.

Once again the second day arrives with no clear advantage to either side as Lincolnshire go into the second day trailing by 175 runs with five wickets in hand.

Norfolk v Lincolnshire, day one

Norfolk 1st innings

JM Spelman run out (Shepherd) 5

SS Arthurton c & b Houston 38

BJ France lbw b Clewett 41

TR Ward c Cheer b Lineker 91

PA Lambert run out (Louth) 58

LW Caswell c Louth b Shepherd 28

RJ Findlay c Carter b Lineker 17

C Brown b Carter 4

JS Blake b Shepherd 4

MP Eccles c Cheer b Carter 0

KJ Bunting not out 0

Extras nb6 lb1 b1 8

Total (76.1 overs) 299

Fall: 26, 65, 135, 233, 261, 284, 293, 293, 299

Bowling: Shepherd 12.1-0-62-2, Bramley 6-0-24-0, Houston 8-2-28-1, Carter 27-7-92-1, Clewett 14-1-54-1, Lineker 9-1-32-2

Lincolnshire 1st innings

AK Patel c Arthurton b Eccles 1

JR Cheer c Blake b France 6

MS Lineker c Spelman b Findlay 50

CJ Louth c Arthurton b Bunting 9

S Evison lbw b Eccles 33

OE Burford not out 19

LG Bramley not out 0

Extras lb4 b2 6

Total (5 wkts, 36 overs) 124

Fall: 2 34 57 75 123

Bowling: Eccles9-2-20-2, Bunting 8-1-27-1, France 7-1-28-1, Findlay 7-0-24-1, Brown 5-0-19-0