Sam Arthurton leads Norfolk fightback after hosts pile on the runs at Hertford

Norfolk followed Hertfordshire's lead as they piled up the runs. Picture: Tim Ferley

Norfolk followed Hertfordshire's lead as they piled up the runs. Picture: Tim Ferley - Credit: Archant

Norfolk will go into the final day of their Minor Counties Championship clash against Hertfordshire with a lead of 50 after another day of toil for the bowlers.

Chris Brown's side produced a spirited response to the hosts' huge first innings total of 458-8 by reaching 172 for the loss of just wicket second time around.

When rain brought a premature halt to proceedings opener Sam Arthurton had just passed three figures, while his second wicket partnership with Jason Reynolds had reached an impressive 121.

Following a solid first innings of 336-7 it left the visitors reasonably placed going into day three, with a draw looking the most likely outcome on a batsman friendly surface.

Almost half of Hertfordshire's total was made by opener Stephen Gale who, after starting the day on 81, went on to get all the way up to 227.

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Norfolk started the day well, with Ashley Watson bowling new batsman Dan Blacktopp for a duck - and when the same bowler had Rob Walters caught by Arthurton for 24 they had a window of opportunity with the score on 185-3. But that was as good as it got for the visitors, with Gale finding willing partners in the shape of Tanweer Sikandar (53), Jamie Southgate (33) and Dominic Chatfield (43 not out). Between them they took Hertfordshire well past the 400 mark, as partnerships of 96, 76 and 81 had Brown's men firmly on the back foot.

When Gale was finally caught by James Spelman off the bowling of Brett Stolworthy, having batted for five-and-a-half hours, Norfolk were facing a deficit of over 100 and it eventually reached 122, with Watson taking the final wicket to finish with figures of 5-142 in 29 overs.

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Spelman and Arthurton got the reply off to a steady start with a partnership of 51 which was ended when the former went for a watchful 11 in 48 balls. Norfolk were under a little pressure at that stage but it was eased considerably by the efforts of Arthurton and Reynolds who took the attack to Hertfordshire in no uncertain fashion.

Arthurton notched 15 fours and one six on his way to his unbeaten ton while Reynolds recorded four fours and three sixes as he reached his second half century of the match.

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