Rogers’ century gives Norfolk hope
Norfolk opener Carl Rogers stroked a chanceless, unbeaten century to give the home side a fighting chance of a first Minor Counties Championship win of the season when they enter the final day at Manor Park, Horsford, this morning.
While still the underdogs against Bedfordshire, Rogers' 19th century in a 21-season career for his county, sent them in to this morning's action with a lead of 192 but with just two second innings wickets remaining.
Rogers had been out without scoring in the first innings but marched out for the second with Norfolk facing an 81-run deficit following Beds' progress from an overnight 133 for five to 233 all out, and batted through to the close.
He didn't give a chance, and after 266 minutes at the crease and 225 balls faced, drove spinner Chris Esh through the offside to run three and add a 19th county century to go with his 61 scores of 50 or more accrued since his debut in 1990.
'It was an exceptional innings, absolutely faultless,' said Norfolk captain George Walker. 'He showed fantastic powers of concentration for almost five hours and he has given us a fighting chance even though Beds remain favourites.
'I think runs on the board, with the pitch getting a bit worse as the game goes on, are so important. Clearly we would like a few more in the morning to set as big a target as possible and to eat up some of the overs,' he added.
Rogers, who hit 13 boundaries in his knock, will start this morning on 114 with debutant Olly Stone on 13 and Norfolk 192 runs ahead at 273-8.
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'Beds have some young players so we need to make it as tough as we can for them. I really think we are in with a chance,' added Walker.
Norfolk's second innings started with fellow opener and Great Witchingham team-mate James Spelman stealing the show. He cracked eight fours before falling for 40, at 61-1, to paceman Andy McGarry.
McGarry had taken five first innings scalps and the day proved a real tussle between the former Essex bowler and the home batsmen, with only Rogers proving out of his reach.
McGarry trapped Matthew Warnes leg before only for Rogers and Trevor Ward to take the score from 71-2 to 138-2 before Ward fell to spinner Chris Esh for 33 off the last ball before tea.
Rogers found another able partner in Peter Lambert and he breezed to 32 before edging a McGarry lifter to slip. The two added 51 but late wickets falling around Rogers gave McGarry a six-wicket return and 11 in the match and Norfolk a sub 200-run lead.
Earlier Beds had stumbled from 133-5 to 157-8 with Stone taking two more wickets but the tail rallied and 157-8 stretched to 233 priceless runs.
'It would be great if Carl could go on in the morning and help us set a tough target,' said Walker.
But however many more Rogers adds, he is unlikely to reach his next Norfolk milestone. He is 85 runs short of 10,000 in his Minor Counties Championship career.
Play is due start at 11am today with a maximum 102 overs available.
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Minor Counties Championship
Norfolk v Bedfordshire, Day Two
Overnight: Norfolk 152 (AC McGarry 5-28), Beds 133-5 (MW Weightman 38no, D Hartley 15no)
• Bedfordshire 1st Inns (cont)
MW Weightman b Stone 46
D Hartley lbw Stone 27
Z Arshad lbw Walker 3
CR Griggs c Caswell b MW Warnes 11
CJ Esh lbw Walker 37
AC McGarry not out 15
Total (80.1 overs) 233
FoW: 6-154, 7-157, 8-157, 9-179
Bowling: OP Stone 21-7-49-3, MW Warnes 14-3-36-4, GW Walker 25.1-7-76-3, JM Spelman 3-1-14-0, C Brown 17-5-36-0.
• Norfolk 2nd Inns
JM Spelman b McGarry 40
CJ Rogers not out 114
MR Warnes lbw McGarry 1
TR Ward c Swann b Esh 33
PA Lambert c Kettleborough b McGarry 32
SK Gray st Hartley b McGarry 17
LW Caswell c Swann b Esh 8
C Brown lbw McGarry 2
GW Walker lbw McGarry 0
OP Stone not out 13
Total (8 wkts, 82 overs) 273
FoW: 1-61, 2-71, 3-138, 4-189, 5-219, 6-228, 7-243, 8-243
Bowling: AC McGarry 28-6-84-6, CR Griggs 10-3-35-0, Z Arshad 12-0-57-0, MW Weightman 7-1-22-0, CJ Esh 25-7-65-2.