Brown allows Norfolk to overcome strange beginnings

Norfolk 202-9 Devon 88 Norfolk win by 114 runs
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The Independent Online

Norfolk, the county that has produced Peter Parfitt, all those many Edriches, Fuller Pilch, and William Ward before that, again triumphed here yesterday.

After a slightly wobbly batting performance, they bowled and fielded in tremendous style and won the 38-County Championship final as easily as their final margin of victory suggests.

In the first part of the day, Peter Roebuck orchestrated his side so well that even though boundaries off the last two balls of the innings had taken Norfolk past 200, Devon had seemed so well organised that they looked the likely winners.

It did not take long for this view to be turned upside down. The sixth ball of the Devon innings, bowled by Paul Bradshaw from the Nursery End, came back up the hill and found Gareth Townsend stranded on the back foot and lbw.

Paul Newman, who had earlier hit those last two balls for four, bowled the second over. His fourth ball came back into Roebuck who was trying to run him to third man and it hit his off stump. Suddenly 202 looked a decent enough score after all.

This was further underlined when, at 25, Bobby Dawson drove across a full-length ball from Bradshaw which hit his middle and off stumps. Ten runs later, after pulling and driving Newman for six and four, David Lye felt for one outside his off stump in Steve Goldsmith's first over and was out to a tumbling catch at slip by Carl Rogers.

At 51, Richard Baggs was caught on the crease by Chris Borrett and his off stump was knocked back. It was then the turn of Chris Brown, the off-spinner, formerly of Cheshire, who was on the losing side in last year's final.

The score was 58 when Andy Procter drove him low to midwicket. Brown, flighting the ball and finding some turn, took the next three wickets before Bradshaw returned to knock out the off stump of the last man John Rhodes.

There had been a curious start to the day. Devon had opened the bowling from the Pavilion End with Procter's off-spin – itself unusual. The strangest part of it was though, that for three overs he was allowed to bowl with six men on the leg side with the umpires apparently blissfully unaware of this. Newman, the Norfolk captain, had to come out to explain the error of their ways.

Norfolk, cheered on by 14 busloads of spectators, were given a cautious but solid start by the two Carls, Amos and Rogers. It was a slow pitch with the ball not coming on to the bat. Shrewdly placed singles were going to be just as important as the big strokes which seldom came off. The Norfolk batsmen never seemed to realise this and they should have scored at least another 25 runs by adapting their thinking accordingly. It needed an impressive innings of 33 from Borrett, who should have come in earlier, to take them as far as 200.

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