Photo gallery: Norfolk undone by second-day collapse as Cambridgeshire stroll to eight-wicket win

Action from Norfolk v Cambridgeshire, batting, on the last day of their three-day match.

Action from Norfolk v Cambridgeshire, batting, on the last day of their three-day match. - Credit: Archant

Norfolk tasted an eight-wicket defeat against Cambridgeshire yesterday – but the damage had already been done before the final day's play.

The hosts took the three wickets they needed to before lunch to give themselves a big chance of winning the three-day Minor Counties Championship opener.

And despite top two Ben Howgego and David Clarke failing to reach double figures, they never looked in danger of falling short.

While the outcome of the match may have been decided on the last afternoon at Harecroft Road, their was one session which proved to be more pivotal in shaping the result.

That came after tea on Monday evening when Norfolk somehow collapsed from 59 for no loss to 103-7 – a position they never recovered from.

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Defeated skipper Chris Brown admitted that his side's miserable end to day two proved to be the difference during a match that they had performed more than admirably in for at least three-quarters of the fixture.

Norfolk's captain said: 'We absolutely lost the game when we lost that session (after tea on day two), which put us back.

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'The guys fought really hard on the final day with the ball, and I thought bowled nicely. A couple of decisions didn't go our way but the damage was done on Monday evening – still on a surface like that, which was probably equivalent to a first-class pitch. You can't afford to be 100-odd for seven as we were, so that's where we lost the game.

'Psychologically (Monday night) it was a massive blow as up until then I thought we'd probably dominated nearly every session in the game. But it just shows you, you can have just one blip – like we did on Monday evening – and that's cost us dearly.'

Brown's boys had looked in control on day one as Harry Bush's beautiful county best 148 not out helped his side post a mammoth 328-8 off their allotted 90 overs.

But Cambs responded with an excellent 308 of their own to leave the tie poised on a knife-edge going into the visitors' second innings.

That fell apart at the end of day two and try as they might, Michael Eccles, Kieran Bunting, Luke Caswell and Sam Groves failed to build a partnership between them to leave the home side needing 144 runs for glory at Wisbech.

While Howgego and Clarke stuttered, to offer some hope, Darren Bicknell and Chris Thompson put on a partnership of 119 to steer their side home.

Norfolk's attentions now turn to Sunday's MCCA Knockout Trophy quarter-final at Northumberland – and taking the positives out of their loss to Cambs.

'We've got a quarter-final in Jesmond on Sunday and then we go to Cumberland next week for another three-dayer after that, so we need to put this (Cambs' loss) behind us quickly,' said Brown.

'The opening partnerships in both innings with (James) Spelman and (Nathan) Perry-Warnes were positives, and also obviously first innings Harry Bush's knock – he played beautifully, as did Luke Caswell.

'I think with the ball, in the first innings we bowled well and we did again today (Tuesday) without much luck. So the bowling group, and the lads I've mentioned with the bat, did well. But that session, as I reflect on it, that's what cost us this game.'

Norfolk will name the same one-day team in Sunday's quarter-final that beat old rivals Suffolk by 13 runs in the last round.

In other news, Brown is confident that injury concerns surrounding bowling-duo Bunting (hamstring) and Caswell (groin) are not as serious as first feared.

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