Sam Arthurton stars as Norfolk secure second victory of Unicorns Knockout Trophy campaign
Norfolk’s excellent start to the new season continued at Manor Park on Sunday when they cruised to a comfortable seven wicket victory over Northumberland.
(Sam Arthurton in full-on attack mode against Northumberland. Picture: Tim Ferley)
New skipper Ashley Watson has now overseen successive home wins in the Minor Counties Unicorns Knock-out Trophy and another victory over Lincolnshire at Bracebridge Heath next Sunday would all but secure a place in the last eight.
Norfolk’s latest triumph was built around a solid bowling effort that restricted the visitors to 197 - and another excellent innings from opener Sam Arthurton, whose unbeaten 89 saw his side home with over 10 overs to spare.
After opting to bat first Northumberland were indebted to a fine knock from James Thompson as they at least gave their bowlers something to defend.
While wickets were falling at regular intervals at the other end, Thompson retained his composure and was just seven runs short of a century when he was caught behind by Sam Groves off the bowling of new professional Rob Taylor.
All of Northumberland’s top six made double figures, but no-one else got past 25 and the tail was quickly mopped up, with the visitors sliding from 164-4 to 197 all out.
Taylor finished up with a useful haul of 3-24 from nine overs while there were two-wicket hauls for Ben Coote, Brett Stolworthy and skipper Watson.
Norfolk suffered an early blow in reply when Jordan Taylor went with just 13 on the board, but opening partner Arthurton then found a willing ally in James Hale, with the pair knuckling down and putting on 67 for the second wicket. The partnership ended when Hale was trapped leg before for 36, with new man Rob Taylor then going for 12, but that was the final alarm for Norfolk.
Northumberland needed another couple of wickets to make it interesting but they never arrived as Lewis Denmark came in to provide Arthurton with the necessary support.
The pair put on an unbroken 70 for the fourth wicket to see Norfolk past their target in the 40th over, with Denmark finishing on 44 and Arthurton just 11 short of three figures. The opener’s fine knock spanned 113 deliveries and included 11 fours.