Norfolk well placed after marathon day

Michael Eccles claimed a six -wickets haul to put Norfolk in with a chance of starting their Minor Counties Championship campaign on a winning note in Jesmond.

After an extended day's play which, because of time lost to rain on Sunday, began half an hour earlier than scheduled and continued until 8pm, Norfolk led by 114 runs with seven second innings wickets standing.

And Swardeston paceman Eccles was undoubtedly the star of the day as he plundered six-for-70 from a marathon 23.3 overs to restrict Northumberland to 296.

Carl Rogers and Trevor Ward then both produced half centuries – the second of the match for Rogers – as Norfolk reached 157 for three at the close.

Norfolk began the day badly with debutant Matthew Warnes caught behind without adding to his overnight score of 36.

The Norfolk innings only lasted another 13.3 overs, but thanks to important knocks from captain George Walker (14), Chris Brown (23) and the other Minor Counties Championship debut making Warnes brother, Michael (14), they extended their score to 253.

That looked a healthy total indeed when Eccles ripped through the upper order of the home batting.

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Mark Dale was trapped lbw before Northumberland had a run on the board and Eccles went on to reduce the hosts to 12 for three by sending two more batsman, Adam Gragg and former Durham star Gary Scott, back to Jesmond's historic old pavillion for ducks – both offering close-in catches to Stephen Gray and Ward respectively.

Dan Shurben stood firm at the other end, and he needed to as Northumberland's other leading batsmen were finding Eccles unplayable.

When Richard Waite became the fourth wicket to fall on 37, his six runs had been the only others to come from any other bat than Shurben's.

Then, however, the Northumberland revival began. Shurben joined forces with Marc Symington to put on 63 for the fifth wicket – ended when Shurben became Eccles' fifth victim, caught by Peter Lambert for a hugely important 62.

Symington, who played First Class cricket for Durham between 1998 and 2002, then led the key partnership of the day, teaming up with Chris Hooker to add 115 for the sixth wicket.

It was to be not pace but spin which stopped Northumberland's score running away at this stage.

Ashley Watson produced MCCA-best figures of three for 41 from 12 overs to take care of Symington (bowled for 79), Hooker (bowled for 58) and David Rutherford (caught by Lambert for 18) as well as playing a part in the run-out of Ben Maxted for five as Northumberland slumped from 215 for five to 221 for eight.

But there was still a frustrating sting in the Tynesiders' tail as the last two wickets put on an additional 75 before Eccles finally dispatched of hard-hitting Michael Craigs for 33.

Forty-three runs behind, Norfolk's second innings started solidly with Rogers and James Spelman, who had put on 67 for the opening wicket in the first innings, this time taking the score to 48 before Spelman (26) offered a return catch to Hooker.

Rogers and Ward then put on 84 for the second wicket before the latter was stumped for 52 on 132. Another 25 runs were added before the day ended with Gray's dismissal for 11.


Overnight: Norfolk 202-6 (CJ Rogers 53, JM Spelman 49)

Norfolk first innings continued

MR Warnes c Maxted b Boyd 36

GW Walker c Symington b Waite 14

C Brown c Waite b Symington 23

MP Warnes b Symington 14

MP Eccles not out 0

Extras (b4 lb2 w2) 8

Total (88 overs) 253

Fall continued: 7-203, 8-231, 9-253

Bowling: Boyd 15-1-62-2, Craigs 9-1-29-0, Rutherford 27-9-63-0, Symington 18-5-31-4, Waite 19-6-62-3

Northumberland first innings

MAP Dale lbw Eccles 0

DG Shurben c Lambert b Eccles 62

A D Gragg c Gray b Eccles 0

GM Scott c Ward b Eccles 0

RP Waite c Gray b Eccles 6

MJ Symington lbw Watson 79

CJ Hooker b Watson 58

BJ Maxted run out (Watson/Gray) 5

DJ Rutherford c Lambert b Watson 18

MA Craigs c Gray b Eccles 33

SJ Boyd not out 19

Extras (b8 lb7 w1) 16

Total (88.3 overs) 296

Fall: 1-0, 2-12, 3-12, 4-37, 5-100, 6-215, 7-221, 8-221, 9-256

Bowling: Eccles 23.3-5-70-6, MW Warnes 8-0-39-0, Spelman 6-0-32-0, Brown 22-9-35-0, Walker 17-3-64-0, AM Watson 12-1-31-3.

Norfolk 2nd innings

JM Spelman c & b Hooker 26

CJ Rogers not out 57

TR Ward st Maxted b Symington 52

SK Gray c Craigs b Waite 11

Extras (b4 lb1 w4 nb2) 11

Total (3 wkts, 39.3 overs) 157

Fall: 1-48, 2-132, 3-157

Bowling: Boyd 4-2-14-0, Craigs 4-0-23-0, Hooker 4-0-37-1, Rutherford 6-2-22-0, Symington 12-4-38-1, Waite 9.3-3-18-1.