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Watson and Brown close to breaking Norfolk record after partnership of 144

PUBLISHED: 00:54 19 June 2017

Norfolk skipper Chris Brown was in the runs on the first day of his side's match against Buckinghamshire. Picture: Tim Ferley

Norfolk skipper Chris Brown was in the runs on the first day of his side's match against Buckinghamshire. Picture: Tim Ferley

Archant

Norfolk came within nine runs of breaking a record that has stood for over 110 years on the opening day of their Minor Counties Championship fixture against Buckinghamshire.

Just when the visitors looked set to be heading for a distinctly below-par first innings score Ashley Watson and skipper Chris Brown batted superbly together to put on 144 for the eighth wicket.

That was just short of Norfolk’s best partnership for the wicket of 152, set way back in 1905, and enabled the visitors to recover from 133-7 to reach a more than respectable 309 with just five balls of their 90 overs unused.

It then got even better for Norfolk as they took three quick wickets before the close to reduce the visitors to 69-3, after they had got past 60 without loss.

After winning the toss Norfolk opted to bat first on a glorious morning at Burnham and made a solid start to reach 31 without loss before openers James Spelman and Sam Arthurton fell in quick succession.

That was cue for the first sizeable partnership of the day as Jason Reynolds and Rob Taylor put on 81 for the third wicket before the latter was dismissed for 28.

When Ben France went for a duck and Reynolds for 50 - his third straight half century since receiving his call-up earlier this month - Norfolk found themselves 126-5 - and when that quickly became 133-7, with Matt Player (5) and Brett Stolworthy (0) both failing, Norfolk were in real trouble.

Fortunately for the visitors one-day captain Watson had survived the carnage however and together with three-day skipper Brown he set about repairing the damage. They batted together for more than 34 overs and by the time Brown was caught by former Norfolk colleague Garry Park off the bowling of Matthew Rance for 58, all but eight of which came in boundaries, his side were in a position of some strength at 277-8.

Watson was eventually caught by Shelvin Gumbs off the bowling of Park for 77 while tailenders Adam Todd and Sam Groves helped lift the total up above 300.

In reply Masoor Khan and Liam Gough put on 61 for the first wicket before France removed both openers in quick succession and Brown had Gumbs caught by France to end a intriguing day on a high note.

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