Taylor makes history on a dramatic day for Norfolk CCC
Norfolk are in a position to end their Minor Counties campaign on a winning note after three superb individual performances lit up a dramatic second day at Old Hill.
Callum Taylor became the youngest player to score a century for the county in their long history while old stager Trevor Ward marked his final appearance with a ton of his own as Norfolk all but matched Staffordshire's impressive first innings total of 383 for seven.
And the excitement didn't end there, with Nathan Perry-Warnes then recording best Championship figures of 6 for 52, including four wickets in six balls, as the hosts finished on 200 for eight in reply.
Staffordshire added to the entertainment early on as they scored at approaching 10 an over, but Perry-Warnes' heroics stopped them in their tracks to set up what promises to be a fascinating final day.
Resuming on 68 for two, Norfolk needed a period of early consolidation yesterday and they got it in the shape of Ben France and Ward who took the score on to 116 before France was trapped leg before for a well-made 63.
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Peter Lambert came and went quickly and 16-year-old Taylor was given a thorough examination early on. But he rose to the challenge and proceeded to put on 172 for the fifth wicket in the company of a man 29 years his senior. Taylor's 127 came off just 133 balls and included 16 fours and five sixes. Ward's 123, his tenth century for the county he has served so well, came off 191 balls and included 17 fours and two sixes. The pair took the Norfolk score on to 289 before Taylor's exhilarating knock came to an end but Ward was still there and helped his side well past the 350 mark in the company of first Ryan Findlay and then Chris Brown.
The Norfolk skipper called time with his side five runs in arrears and quickly found the deficit back into three figures as Staffordshire's second wicket partnership of James Middleton and Tim Maxfield put on 117 in double quick time, with the pair notching 19 fours and four sixes between them.
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It needed something special to stop the game drifting away from Norfolk, and Perry-Warnes provided it with an inspired spell that saw the hosts slip from 132 for one to 137 for six in no time at all. The Staffordshire tailed wagged after that, but a late wicket from France gave the visitors a timely boost going into the final day.