Spinners help Norfolk to seize the ‘derby’ initiative

Norfolk are sitting pretty after fine bowling and batting turned a difficult first hour and a half into an ideal platform for success against neighbours Suffolk in their Minor Counties Championship match at Manor Park, Horsford.

The visitors dominated the early overs and for the first 90 minutes looked in little trouble.

But then Norfolk enjoyed a purple patch which saw them grab three pre-lunch wickets for just 10 runs in a five-over spell.

When skipper George Walker and player-coach Chris Brown then strangled the life out of their neighbour's batsmen to demolish them to 181 all out, Norfolk openers James Spelman and Matthew Warnes then shared an unbeaten century partnership.

That left Norfolk only 74 runs adrift of Suffolk at the close, with all 10 wickets intact, and another 56 overs available.

'We are in an ideal position. It's been a good day. We just need to bat on and try to get as big a lead as possible,' said a delighted Walker.

'The track is a bit drier than usual and there will be plenty of turn. We wouldn't want a big total to chase in the final innings,' he said.

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Walker was quick to praise bowling partner Brown. 'He was very accurate and took five wickets while I kept it tight at the other end and together we had them in trouble. Then the openers batted really well to leave us in a great position,' he added. 'A ton on the board without loss is a fantastic start.'

But the first breakthrough took time to arrive. In the 24th over, opener Tom Huggins, who had moved to 35 with a four over slips, was then caught by Trevor Ward at first slip off the bowling of Spelman and Suffolk were 76-1. Four overs later Spelman had Martin Cull caught by Peter Lambert and when debutant Kieran Bunting, in his second spell, had opener Hassan Adnan caught behind, the visitors had reached 84-3.

The Brown and Walker show did the trick after lunch with Brown, bowling into the wind, taking 5-31 in 24 overs and Walker 2-36 in 25. During their bowling partnership, 16 of 34 overs were maidens as Suffolk went ultra defensive.

Suffolk, who won the toss and chose to bat,finally reached 181 but that was made to look ordinary when Spelman and Warnes saw off all Suffolk bowlers to reach 107 without loss by the close, Spelman unbeaten on 45 and Warnes on 41, augmented by a very wasteful 21 extras.

Warnes opened in place of the absent centurion from the previous match, Carl Rogers, while Bunting replaced Olly Stone who was training with the England under 19 squad.

'There's a long way to go but it has been a good day, a very good day,' said Walker.

Norfolk took the maximum four bowling points with Suffolk bagging just one batting point.

Play resumes today at 11am.


Minor Counties Championship

Manor Park

• Suffolk 1st innings

TB Huggins c Ward b Spelman 35

Hassan Adnan c Gray b Bunting 37

MG Cull c Lambert b Spelman 0

BJ France c Caswell b Brown 21

JE Bishop b Brown 22

CJ Warn lbw b Brown 0

APD Gravell lbw b Brown 9

JM Finch c Ward b Walker 13

TWW Rash c Walker b Brown 4

PJ Edwards c Caswell b Walker 23

MD Hunn not out 1

Extras (b5 lb3 w4 nb4) 16

Total (80.5 overs) 181

Fall: 1-76 2-82 3-84 4-121 5-121 6-137 7-138 8-148 9-162

Bowling: MW Warnes 14-2-41-0, Bunting 10-0-36-1, Spelman 12-3-29-2, Brown 24-8-31-5, Walker 20.5-9-36-2.

• Norfolk 1st innings

JM Spelman not out 45

MR Warnes not out 41

Extras (b5 lb1 nb12) 21

Total (0 wkts, 34 overs) 107

Bowling: Edwards 7-3-14-0, Hunn 5-1-18-0, Bishop 6-1-26-0, France 5-1-19-0, Finch 6-1-10-0, Huggins 5-0-11-0.