Staffordshire finished the first day on top after batting first and recovering from 90 for 6 to post a score of 231 when they were bowled all out in 82 overs. Norfolk had bowled well to get rid of a strong Staffordshire top order but the Staffordshire total was down in the main to an unbeaten 93 from number 7 Tim Maxfield. He featured in partnerships of 68 with Jack Redman (24) and 70 with Toby Bulcock (22). For Norfolk Ashley Watson had the excellent figures of 5 for 57 from 29 overs and there was 2 wickets for opening bowler Andy Hanby.
The Norfolk response did not start well with both 17 year olds’ Freddie Fairey and Ben Wilcox being dismissed without troubling the scorer as Norfolk slumped to 31 for 2. Worse was to follow when Tom New was adjudged LBW to Bulcock for 3 with the score on 51. Sam Arthurton was the next to go caught behind by Alex Mellor off the bowling of ex-Warwickshire man Liam Banks for 41. With the score on 61 Norfolk lost their fifth wicket as Jason Reynolds was caught by Rob Hemmings again from the bowling of Banks. Will Rogers and night watchman Andy Hanby saw Norfolk to stumps on 61 for 5. They are facing an uphill challenge on day 2 and will need to bat well to avoid a large first innings deficit and stay in the game.
It was a day of ups and downs for both sides. Norfolk resumed on 61 for 5 with Will Rogers and nightwatchman Andy Hanby at the crease. The pair added 35 before Rogers was caught by Toby Bulcock off the bowling of Liam Banks for 18. Skipper Ashley Watson was next to go one run later. Hanby had dug in and was playing a resolute innings. He added 24 with Charlie Rogers before his defiance came to an end with the score on 123 when he was well caught by Tim Maxfield off Michael Hill for 32 from 115 balls. There was a late flurry from Brett Stolworthy (11) and Callum Metcalf (17) that saw the Norfolk innings end on 151. This gave Staffordshire a first innings lead of 80. Banks had three wickets and there was two for Paul Byrne.
Norfolk made a good start to the Staffordshire second innings with two early wickets when Brett Stolworthy removed both openers Alex Mellor and Matthew Morris to catches by keeper Tom New. When Michael Hill was bowled by Metcalf with the score on 39 things were looking up for Norfolk. Better was to come when Peter Wilshaw, Zen Malik and Jack Redman departed in quick succession to leave Staffordshire struggling on 71 for 6. There was then some aggressive hitting from Banks (29) and ex-Derbyshire man Rob Hemmings (48) as they staged a recovery and supported by Bulcock they took the final total to 176 leaving Norfolk needing 257 to win. There were three wickets for Charlie Rogers and two each for Stolworthy, Metcalf and Watson.
Norfolk started in positive vein with Sam Arthurton and Freddie Fairey putting on 43 for the first wicket before Fairey was caught close in by Malik from the bowling of Bulcock. Nightwatchman from the first innings Hanby came in again and with Arthurton the pair steered Norfolk to the close on 47 for 1. Arthurton wass unbeaten on 29 and Hanby 2. The first hour of day 3 will be key if Norfolk are to chase down the victory target.
Norfolk resumed on 47 for 1 needing a further 210 to win with the potential of 102 overs in the day. The initial objective was to get through the first hours play without losing any wickets as the game would not be won in the first session but could easily be lost if several wickets tumbled. The overnight pair of Sam Arthurton and Andy Hanby safely negotiated 58 minutes before rain descended and the players had to leave the field with the score on 90 for 1.
An early lunch was taken at 12.45 p.m. and when play started again the Norfolk pair continued in a defiant manner as Arthurton brought up his fifty and they had taken the score to 116 before Hanby was caught by wicketkeeper Alex Mellor off the bowling of Paul Byrne for 25 from 96 balls in an innings spanning 32 overs. The partnership of 73 had given Norfolk a solid platform from which to chase the victory target. Youngster Ben Wilcox joined Arthurton at the crease and the pair moved the score on steadily during which Arthurton brought up a magnificent century. Wilcox played with confidence and added 79 with Arthurton before he was adjudged LBW to Byrne for 27 from 69 balls.
The Staffordshire players were starting to look deflated as Tom New and Arthurton put on 55 for the fourth wicket and Arthurton who was in dominant form brought up his 150. New fell with 7 required for victory when he was caught by Tim Maxfield from the bowling of Jack Redman. Arthurton accompanied by Will Rogers saw Norfolk over the line in 83rd over and finished 158 not out. His outstanding innings of 242 balls contained 27 fours.
This was an excellent win for the young Norfolk side against a very strong Staffordshire team.