Superb performance gets Norfolk Festival of Cricket off to a flying start
- Credit: SIMON FINLAY
Norfolk dominated Buckinghamshire on a memorable day of cricket to take their first Unicorns Minor Counties Championship victory of the season.
Played out under glorious sunshine at Manor Park the hosts ensured the Norfolk Festival of Cricket spectators could enjoy victory – and a celebration of a landmark wicket for captain Chris Brown.
The skipper took his 500th wicket for Norfolk amongst a remarkable performance which saw the off-spinner take seven for 47 in his 14 overs, to help dismiss the visitors for just 101.
That sealed a 239-run triumph and made sure the good work of the first two days against Bucks was fully capitalised on.
Openers James Spelman and Sam Arthurton laid the foundations of the victory on day one with a partnership of 113 until the latter went for 53. Spelman pressed on for a 248-ball knock of 131 as Norfolk finished their innings on 336 for seven.
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Bucks made a good start to their first innings, also having an opening partnership of 113, only to be taken apart by seven wickets for 45 runs by the home bowlers.
Five of those wickets were taken by Garry Park, who finished on 5-45 from 17 overs, with Ben France and Brown also taking two wickets apiece to dismiss Bucks for 221.
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Norfolk set about trying to score quickly towards the end of day two as they looked to establish an unassailable lead, Lewis Denmark scoring 45 as part of an overnight total of 144-7 – and a lead of 259 runs.
Brett Stolworthy's unbeaten 37 and 29 from Brown yesterday morning saw the hosts declare on 225 for nine, setting Bucks a target of 341.
That chase never looked on though as France had Shaan Khan caught for a duck by Park in just the third ball of the innings.
Then it was time for Brown to take centre stage, having Shelvin Gumbs caught by Arthurton for 21 with his first ball of the innings to leave Bucks on 23-2 at lunch.
The celebrations really got going in the first over after the break though when Brown struck again with just the second ball, having visiting captain Michael Payne caught by Jordan Taylor for a duck.
It was the 500th wicket of the 41-year-old's Norfolk career, in his 16th season with the county, but the skipper wasn't finished there.
A further five wickets followed, taking that spell to six wickets for 31 runs and leaving Bucks staring down the barrel of defeat at 54-7.
Some late swinging from the tail-enders nudged the total to 101 before Park brought the match to its inevitable end with more than 35 overs to play.
Brown finished on 7-47 and was fittingly presented with the man of the match award by former county president David Armstrong.
The next game of the festival starts on Sunday when Lincolnshire arrive looking to stretch their unbeaten start to the Championship season.