Walker the spin hero for Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 21:42 05 July 2009 | UPDATED: 10:38 06 July 2010

A patient century from Suffolk's Tom Huggins and a six-wicket haul by Norfolk spinner George Walker left East Anglia's Minor Counties Championship derby at Ipswich School evenly balanced at the end of day one.

A patient century from Suffolk's Tom Huggins and a six-wicket haul by Norfolk spinner George Walker left East Anglia's Minor Counties Championship derby at Ipswich School evenly balanced at the end of day one.

In-form Bury St Edmunds opener Huggins notched his fifth Championship ton, contributing an impressive 120 in a total of 318 for nine, sharing in an opening stand of 111 with Ben France.

But wickets fell at regular intervals, following France's dismissal - bowled by Chris Brown after an entertaining 66 off 56 balls, which included three sixes and eight boundaries.

Norfolk's spin pairing of Brown and Walker then took over, bowling 73 of the 90 overs, with the latter taking six wickets for 129 from a marathon 39 overs to leave Suffolk a frustrating seven runs short of a fourth batting point.

The hosts then took three valuable wickets in the evening sunshine, including potential danger-man Trevor Ward for a duck, as Norfolk ended the day on 126 for three, 192 runs behind.

But Norfolk's mood was improved markedly by an unbeaten fourth-wicket stand of 58 between captain Carl Rogers (36no) and Steven Gray (32no) after a half century from Ben Patston.

Huggins batted very responsibly after the loss of France, as Suffolk's batsmen struggled on a wicket that was conducive to a little spin.

There were four ducks, and it needed a swashbuckling 43 off just 29 balls from spinner Chris Swallow, and a stubborn 45 not out from debutant Peter Turnbull, to nudge Suffolk past 300.

“Ben (France) and I decided to make the most of as many scoring opportunities as possible off the seamers, because we knew the pitch would do a bit for the spinners,” said Huggins.

“Ben and I have always seem to bat well together. We look at it jointly, rather than individually. Perhaps playing club cricket together (at Bury) for a couple of years helped.

“We help each other out, and love to get to the milestones, like the half-century and century partnerships.

“It was always going to be hard for the new batsmen coming in, against the spinners on this pitch, so I knew that I had a responsibility to stay there and keep it going.

“We always aim for one or two of the top four to go on and score a century, and that's been the case so far in our first three matches.

“It's just a shame that we fell just seven runs short of getting maximum batting points,” added Huggins.

The obdurate Huggins was eventually the eighth wicket to fall, run out by Brown while attempting a second run, with the score on 286.

He reached his 50 off 88 balls and celebrated his century off 213 deliveries, and in all struck 16 boundaries. The 26-year-old is now preparing to play his part with the ball, as a spinner, this morning. Play resumes at 11am.

“I think that 318 is a good total on this pitch. We'd have taken that at lunch, with three wickets down,” continued Huggins.

“We then took three good wickets ourselves. I think that we have slightly better seamers than Norfolk, but they bat all the way down the order, so we will have to be patient.

“We know that the pitch will do something, but we mustn't force it. Our aim is to get a first innings lead.”


t Suffolk 1st innings

TB Huggins run out (Brown /Gray) 120

BJ France b Brown 66

MG Cull c Rogers b Walker 0

H Adnan c Borrett b Walker 13

CJ Warn c Rogers b Walker 0

PJ Caley c Spelman b Brown 8

JE Bishop c Ward b Walker 0

CA Swallow c Patston b Walker 43

PT Turnbull not out 45

PD King lbw b Walker 0

MJW Smith not out 14

Extras (b3 lb6) 9

Total (9 wkts, 90 overs) 318

Fall: 111, 114, 132, 146, 167, 172, 224, 286, 286

Bowling: Eccles 6-2-29-0, Watson 4-0-30-0, Borrett 4-0-14-0, Walker 39-8-129-6, Brown 34-6-111-2, Rogers 3-0-5-0

t Norfolk 1st innings

JM Spelman lbw b Bishop 1

BJ Patston lbw b Smith 50

CJ Rogers not out 36

TR Ward c Caley b Bishop 0

SK Gray not out 32

Extras (nb7) 7

Total (3 wkts, 21 overs) 126

Fall: 3, 63, 68

Bowling: Smith 7-1-39-1, Bishop 6-0-48-2, King 2-0-9-0, France 2-0-9-0, Swallow 2-0-17-0, Huggins 2-1-4-0

To bat: CR Borrett, SS Arthurton, GW Walker, C Brown, MP Eccles, AA Watson

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