Norfolk’s competitive season has started with a shock after Cambridgeshire bowled them out for just 72 in their opening match of the Unicorns Knockout Trophy.

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Norfolk skipper Chris Brown won the toss at Manor Park and decided to put Cambs into bat for the one-day match at Manor Park yesterday.

That had looked to be a decent decision as well because Cambs were all out for 166 from 48.3 overs, with James Spelman the pick of the Norfolk bowlers with three wickets for 20 runs in his six overs.

However Norfolk’s batsman failed to seize the opportunity on a warm and sunny afternoon in Horsford, collapsing to all out for 72 runs in 30 overs.

That meant Cambs won the clash by 95 runs, much to the frustration of the Norfolk skipper.

“The bowling and fielding performance, we were pleased with that,” Brown said. “To restrict them to that score, on that pitch, and that proved right because we were 30 for no wicket after six overs with Ben France and James Spelman going well, but it was just an abject batting performance really and that’s what’s cost us really.

“We were bowled out in 30 overs for 72, and freaks happen in cricket. In the County Championship last year Essex were bowled out for 20 against Lancashire in an innings but we’ve had a chat about it and we are not going to dwell on it, just a bit more pride needed in our batting performance I think and we move on to next week.”

Norfolk and Cambs are in group two of the Unicorns Knockout Trophy, alongside Suffolk, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.

On Sunday Norfolk travel to Dunstable to take on Bedfordshire before returning to Manor Park two weeks later to take on Suffolk.

“Cambs bowled well but we didn’t really ride the storm and too many gave their wickets away instead of just knuckling down and batting time,” Brown continued.

“If we’d have batted the 50 overs we would have won the game, we would have chased 160-odd, but we lost too many wickets too early, too quickly, and no one managed to get a partnership together apart from the first two.

“We’re away next week to Bedfordshire and we need to win every game now in this group to ensure we can qualify.

“You don’t become a bad team overnight, but I just hope the blokes can reflect on what they’ve done without worrying about it too much because, like I say, it’s just one of those things.”

Norfolk’s MCCA (Minor Counties Cricket Association) Championship season is scheduled to get under way on Sunday, June 8, when they play their first three-day game in Northumberland.

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