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Century-maker James Spelman hoping Norfolk can build on big victory

PUBLISHED: 06:30 22 July 2016

James Spelman preparing to drive on his way to a century against Buckinghamshire. Picture: Tim Ferley

James Spelman preparing to drive on his way to a century against Buckinghamshire. Picture: Tim Ferley

Tim Ferley

Scoring a first century of the season for Norfolk has raised the spirits and ambitions of long-serving opening batsman James Spelman.

The 32-year-old scored 131 from 248 balls in the first innings of this week’s clash with Buckinghamshire at Manor Park, laying the foundations of victory.

The hosts went on to complete a 239-run triumph over Bucks, in the first game of this year’s Norfolk Festival of Cricket.

Before the match Spelman had scored 43 runs in the opening two Unicorns Minor Counties Championship matches, with a highest score of 22, but 135 overall against Bucks boosted his total to 178 and his average to 29.66.

“It was nice to get a hundred,” Spelman said. “I’ve done okay this year but it’s not gone as well as I’d hoped.

“It was tough going, me and Sam (Arthurton) really had to grind it out, we got over 100 so that was nice and I kicked on from there so really nice to get a hundred.”

Five wickets for 45 runs in the first innings from Garry Park and skipper Chris Brown’s remarkable seven for 47 in the second innings destroyed Bucks, in scorching hot conditions.

“It was probably a bit too hot but the weather has been fantastic, you can’t ask for better, in front of your home spectators at the festival,” Spelman continued.

“Overall the first innings, pretty happy with that, over the last few years we probably haven’t got the runs on the board in the first innings that we’d have liked.

“So to get maximum points with 325 runs and then the bowling, Ben (France) throughout the game has been superb, he deserved more wickets than he got (108-4 in the match) but did a fantastic job.

“Parky first innings, that was as well as he’s bowled for us, pleased for him to get his first five-fer.

“Second innings we had a bit of a collapse early on and then the lads ground out the three-hundred-plus lead that we were looking for, which was ideal and then the declaration and early wickets, everything went perfectly.

“For Browny to get his wickets and everything was brilliant, so just perfect really but we need to kick on in the next game.”

Brown passed the landmark of 500 wickets in all formats for Norfolk during that seven-wicket haul.

“I think I’ve pretty much played with him for most of those games, he’s done fantastically over the years,” the Great Witchingham batsman added, having made his county debut in 2002, the season after Brown.

“He always puts the ball in the right area, he’s a canny bowler, works the batters out.

“He did a superb job, the batters didn’t work him out, a superb effort.”

The festival continues when Lincolnshire arrive in Norfolk on Sunday, looking to extend their unbeaten start to the Championship campaign.

“To win the first festival game, there’s no reason why we can’t kick on and win all three festival games,” Spelman added.

“We need to kick on from here and if we can win these three games and then go into the last game of the season with a chance of winning it, that’s the aim.

“We just need to take it one game at a time, one session at a time and we’ll see how we go.”

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