Captain could make return from injury for Norfolk against Bedfordshire

The final day of Norfolk against Cumberland in the Norfolk Festival of Cricket. Norfolk captain Chris Brown, who is injured, brings on a spare glove for batsman Lewis Denmark. Picture: Denise Bradley The final day of Norfolk against Cumberland in the Norfolk Festival of Cricket. Norfolk captain Chris Brown, who is injured, brings on a spare glove for batsman Lewis Denmark. Picture: Denise Bradley

Friday, July 25, 2014
6:30 AM

Norfolk captain Chris Brown could return from injury for his side’s vital second match of the Norfolk Festival of Cricket.

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Brown has been sidelined by a calf injury for the last three weeks and watched his side draw their first two matches of the Unicorns Minor Counties Championship, at Northumberland and Hertfordshire.

An under-strength Norfolk side then slipped to a 10-wicket defeat against Cumberland, which started the festival at Manor Park last Sunday and concluded on Tuesday.

“I had a jog round this morning (Thursday) and it’s not sore but it feels like there’s not a lot of strength in the muscle,” Brown said of his battle for fitness.

“I’ll try and have a bowl and if it’s okay, I’ll play, but if it needs another week then I won’t risk it.”

It is Bedfordshire who come to Horsford this Sunday for the next three-day game of Norfolk’s season, with the two teams propping up the Eastern Division table.

The two sides have almost identical records after three games each but Norfolk have accumulated two more bonus points, so victory is much needed for both teams.

“It’s a big opportunity, we need to put last week behind us,” Brown said. “We’ve got a few blokes back in the squad so we have got to look for a positive result.”

After rain ended the first day’s play after just three hours against Cumberland, Norfolk went on to be bowled out for 133 and then watched the visitors build a healthy score before declaring on 325-9.

Norfolk were then all out for 192, with Lewis Denmark scoring an unbeaten 51 on his debut, to finish exactly level and leave the visitors to knock off just one run for the win.

“Cumberland were a strong side and we were missing six or seven key players who were unavailable for one reason or another and we were outplayed in every department,” Brown said.

“But I was really impressed with the fight and character shown, first by James Spelman and then the two young lads Lewis Denmark and Jordan Taylor, who showed a bit of grit.”

The 39-year-old Norfolk skipper suffered a tear to his left calf muscle and has been busy building his fitness in the gym, which he hopes he will feel the long-term benefits of.

Even if he doesn’t make it though, other senior members are returning. Sam Arthurton, Ben France and wicketkeeper Stephen Gray are all returning on Sunday, with play due to start at 11am.

Norfolk have named a 12-man squad, with Brown to reclaim the captaincy from Garry Park if he is fit and Ryan Findlay to drop out.

Norfolk (from): James Spelman, Peter Lambert, Sam Arthurton, Garry Park, Ben France, Jordan Taylor, Lewis Denmark, Stephen Gray (WK) Ashley Watson, Chris Brown (C), Michael Eccles, Ryan Findlay.

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