Photo gallery: Norfolk best for brilliant Bush as he hits classy unbeaten century at Cambridgeshire
- Credit: Matthew Usher
A classy unbeaten century from Harry Bush lit up Norfolk's Minor Counties Championship opener at Cambridgeshire yesterday.
The batsman played a beautiful knock to register a career best 148 not out for his county to help his side post a huge 328-8 off their allotted 90 overs on day one at Wisbech.
Bush's majestic display saw him score runs around the field as he made light work of the 173 balls he faced. The talented star calmly plotted his way to 100 – helping Norfolk see off a mid-morning wobble – before opening his shoulders and peppering the hosts' bowlers in the second and third sessions.
His ton, which included 16 fours and four sixes, came as part of a partnership of 114 with Luke Caswell – who scored a hugely impressive 39 – for the sixth wicket. And Norfolk skipper Chris Brown said the pair, especially Bush, played brilliantly.
'The two lads up top, Nathan (Perry-Warnes) on his debut, and James (Spelman) played really well and got a good decent partnership. Then we did have a bit of a blip before lunch,' said Brown, whose side start day two with a lead of 271 runs.
'And then Harry Bush and Luke Caswell's partnership was pivotal in us getting the total we did so I'm well pleased. Harry played beautifully. It was chanceless. He struck the ball pretty much 360 degrees, which is obviously the sign of a quality player and I'm really pleased with his contribution.'
Norfolk had looked in control of proceedings at a cold Wisbech as James Spelman and Nathan Perry-Warnes saw off Cambs' opening pacemen James Williams and Joe Dawborn comfortably. Bar a couple of hopeful lbw shouts, the pair seemed to be at ease.
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Yet, just as it looked like they might reach lunch on day one with their wickets intact, the hosts' spinners turned the screw. First, Lewis Bruce made it 75-1 when he forced Perry-Warnes to edge a simple catch to wicket keeper Paul Summerskill. Less than three overs later his opening partner Spelman was joining him after Cambs' captain Paul McMahon trapped him lbw.
Bush came to the crease but wasn't joined for long by Trevor Ward – bowled by a peach of a delivery from McMahon – or Ben France as they took the long walk back to the pavilion without troubling the scorers.
Norfolk had stumbled from 75 without loss to 86-4 at lunch, a break they probably needed more than their opponents. It proved to be the case as they re-grouped and didn't look back after the re-start with Peter Lambert's quick-fire 16, plus Bush and Caswell's fine work, putting Norfolk in the driving seat.
The expensive Williams was brought back into the attack to try and make a breakthrough but it was spin once again that did the trick with McMahon getting Caswell lbw. The bowler's figures of 4-97 only tell half the story as he completed a mammoth 36 overs at a hugely impressive economy rate of 2.69.
Bruce, who took three wickets himself, also chipped in as the hosts realised what their best way of staying in the game was.
After tea however, Brown, Michael Eccles – who was run out as Bush pushed hard for a second run – and the quick between the wickets Kieran Bunting all played their part in ensuring their side gained the maximum four batting bonus points on offer as they chipped in while Bush continued his fine knock. All of his sixes came after he'd matched the unbeaten 100 he had previously scored for Norfolk.
As a result the men from Nelson's County finished their allotted 90 overs more than happy with their afternoon's work and hoping to take a wicket in the last 17 overs of the day's play.
It didn't come however, as the left and right-handed partnership of Ben Howgego, who ended on 32, and David Clarke made light work of more decent – yet unsuccessful – seam bowling. Ten fours saw Cambs' run-rate accelerate but it slowed as France and Brown got dug into the opening pair towards the close of play.
The closest the visitors came to taking a wicket was when spinner Brown enjoyed two very productive overs at the death. Had Caswell had held a diving catch at slip in the last over, Clarke would have been not walking out to the wicket when the three-day match continues again this morning.
However, the Norfolk chief was in philosophical mood about the missed chance and is now hoping his men can stamp their authority on the game to prevent Cambs from staging a stirring fightback.
'The ball didn't spin a lot all day to be honest. It's just the odd one bounced,' said Brown.
'It's a shame Luke Caswell didn't hang onto that chance in the last over at slip but that happens. It's still quite a decent pitch so we're looking forward to making inroads into their line-up today. I think as the game goes on it will start to spin more but that happens sometimes.
'Sometimes spinners will get wickets on green and the seamers don't get any joy. Sometimes on spinning wickets, the seamers take them – and yesterday for them was just one of them days.
'It's crucial in the morning that we try and make enroads and then, as I say it's still a good surface, try and restrict them and get some kind of lead.'
Play resumes today at 11am.