Sam Arthurton’s century against Bedfordshire keeps Norfolk’s outside chances of winning Minor Counties Eastern Division alive

Sam Arthurton did his utmost to keep Norfolk's outside chances of winning the Minor Counties Eastern Division alive with a superb century at Wardown Park yesterday.

The 20-year-old dominated the opening day of the final match of the season, contributing 158 as the visitors posted an imposing 350 for nine in their 90 overs to take the maximum four batting points.

But on a scorching day when bat dominated ball Bedfordshire were handily placed at the close, reaching 84 for one in just 17 overs to set the scene for what they hope will be another run-fest today.

Knowing they had to take maximum points to have an opportunity of overhauling leaders Buckinghamshire, George Walker's side were soon on the front foot in Luton. Arthurton put on 60 for the first wicket with James Spelman (28) and added a further 80 with Stephen Gray (35) for the second as Norfolk set the foundations for a big total.

They lost their way somewhat as 140-2 became 212-5 but the arrival of Peter Lambert (54) provided further momentum as he and Arthurton put on 89 for the sixth wicket to take the visitors' total past 300. The opener finally went having hit 14 fours in an innings that spanned 316 minutes and 279 deliveries. It was Arthurton's second Minor Counties Championship century for the county.

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Norfolk eventually got up to exactly 350 and made a bright start when they bowled, with Michael Warnes having opener Dan Simpson caught behind with the Befdfordshire score on just 10. But new batsmen George Thurstance then scored a quick-fire unbeaten 48 to get his side up and running.

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• Norfolk

J M Spelman c Kerr b Weightman 28

S S Arthurton lbw Griggs 158

S K Gray run out 36

T R Ward lbw Griggs 13

A M Watson c Simpson b Esh 20

A E Shearer c Weightman b Reynoldson 0

P A Lambert c Griggs b Reynoldson 54

G W Walker c Kerr b Griggs 6

M W Warnes st Kerr b Reynoldson 0

M P Eccles not out 9

K J Bunting not out 7

Extras b1 lb5 w5 nb8 19

Total (9 wkts, 90 overs) 350

Fall: 1-60 2-140 3-169 4-210 5-212 6-301 7-322 8-323 9-340

Bowling: Sneath 10-1-35-0, Weightman 16-3-52-1, Griggs 19-2-85-3, Reynoldson 29-3-90-3, Esh 16-1-82-1.

• Bedfordshire

S C Stubbings not out 19

A D Simpson c Gray b Warnes 8

G R Thurstance not out 48

Extras lb1 w2 nb 6 9

Total 1 wkt (17 overs) 84

Fall: 1-10

Bowling: Eccles 6-1-24-0, Warnes 8-1-49-1, Bunting 1-0-8-0, Watson 2-1-2-0.

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