Injured Norfolk skipper Chris Brown ruled out of Hertfordshire clash
Norfolk captain Chris Brown has been ruled out of Norfolk’s Unicorns Minor Counties Championship clash with Hertfordshire after picking up an injury.
Brown will still travel with his side to Harpenden for the start of their three-day match on Sunday but is facing three to four weeks on the sidelines.
The Norfolk skipper was in action for his club side Horsford in the East Anglian Premier League last Saturday, taking three wickets in an 130-run home win against Great Witchingham.
But the joy of that victory was tainted for Brown by his injury, who now faces a battle to be fit for the start of the Norfolk Festival of Cricket, which gets under way at Manor Park against Cumberland on July 20.
“I got a tear in my calf muscle and I’m probably out for three to four weeks,” a disappointed Brown said. “It happened when I was in the field against Great Witchingham and I just felt it ping.
“I’ve seen a physio and he’s saying three to four weeks, but it could be sooner, so I’ll just be trying to get fit as soon as I can.”
South African all-rounder Garry Park will take over the captaincy for the match in Brown’s absence on the field.
Park filled the void left by the retiring Trevor Ward over the winter, when Brown persuaded him to switch from Cambridgeshire.
The 31-year-old former Durham and Derbyshire professional plays club cricket for Swarkestone CC in the Derbyshire Premier League and has a wealth of experience to draw upon.
“Gary was the obvious choice,” Brown continued. “He captained Derbyshire’s second XI for a season, I think in his last year at the club, so he has got experience already.
“It was quite an easy decision to make with me being out.”
The clash with Hertfordshire represents something of a reboot for Norfolk, after their first three-day match of the season ended in a draw after a heavily rain-affected match at Northumberland.
Michael Eccles had been the top bowler with four wickets for 62 runs as Norfolk bowled out the home side for 326 in 89.4 overs at Tynemouth.
But play had been delayed by rain on the first and second day, before heavy overnight rain saw the match abandoned on day three with Norfolk on 67-5.
Brown is hopeful his team-mates will be able to get into full swing at Harpenden though, saying: “Herts have played two and lost two (against Staffordshire and Cambs) so their confidence will be down a bit.
“We’ve only had one match, which was weather-affected, and because of that the lads will be looking to get a positive result.”
Another change to the team sees young Swardeston batsman Jordan Taylor promoted from the Lions squad for his senior debut.
“Jordan has performed very well in the league, and particularly well for the Lions, which had impressed me,” Brown added. “He’s a solid player and we want him to take that form out on to the field.”
Norfolk: James Spelman, Peter Lambert, Garry Park (C), Ben France, Jordan Taylor, Ashley Watson, Luke Caswell, Sam Groves (WK), Aaron Watson, Michael Eccles, Kieran Bunting, Brett Stolworthy (12th man).
Herts: E C Ballard, S E W Gale, K S Toor, T Sikander, N V Jeyaratnam (C), J E Southgate, W V M Jones, B J Frazer, G E B Scott, A C Spencer (WK), N J Lamb