Dutch level best not quite enough

Norfolk 245-3 The Netherlands 245 Norfolk win by losing fewer wickets
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The Independent Online

They don't come much better than this. The Netherlands needed seven to beat Norfolk off the last over in next year's Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy with one wicket in hand. Two twos and two singles brought the scores level and then Nadim Abbas, the last man, charged at the last ball.

It was bowled by off-spinner, Carl Rogers. It cannoned off the batsman or the wicket keeper's pads to slip and the throw back to the bowler beat Abbas's frantic charge to the other end. The scores were level but Norfolk had won by dint of losing fewer wickets.

Politics, common sense and bad husbandry has forced Norfolk County Cricket Club to decamp from Lakenham, their home for 116 years. They have alighted at Horsford, just outside the northern boundaries of Norwich, which has already proved itself a far superior venue and was embellished by this amazing day's cricket.

Norfolk won the toss and on a sluggish green pitch they reached a competitive total thanks largely to an innings of spirited driving by Rogers. He made 139 not out, hitting two sixes and 15 fours. It was the first century for Norfolk in this competition and deservedly brought him the match award.

The Dutch fielded well and bowled tidily, although with a tendency to keep to slightly too full a length. Rogers was given excellent support by James Walker in a second- wicket stand of 180.

In reply Holland lost Nick Statham (no relation to Brian as far as one could discover) and Feico Kloppenburg early before Darron Reekers and Hanck Mol began to take full advantage of some poor bowling from Norfolk, who in the middle of the innings allowed the batsmen too much opportunity to cut and drive. Then Reekers holed out at long on; Claas Noorwijk did not last long but there was an excellent partnership between Luuk van Troost and Mol.

Then wickets again began to fall and Norfolk dropped catches. When Edgar Schiferli was lbw to Peter Bradshaw, Holland were 221 for 8, still 25 short. Reinaut Scholte, the captain, was then caught at long on and 15 were needed from the last two overs. Eight came from the 49th over and seven were needed from the last – which for the Dutch was one too many. It was as exciting a finish as one could wish to see.

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