Bedfordshire suffer narrow Norfolk defeat
Bedfordshire went down by 29 runs to Norfolk in their opening Unicorns Trophy group match at Dunstable on Sunday.
This means the pressure will be on when they go to Bury St Edmunds to face Suffolk in the second of their four games this weekend.
Dan Blacktopp, who missed Sunday’s game because he was on honeymoon, will be available, but unfortunately new 6ft 7ins fast bowler Luke Evans is not.
Although Evans did not get a wicket he bowled with pace and hostility on a pitch not really suited to his bowling.
After Bedfordshire lost the toss they did not help their cause by missing a couple of chances early on.
Norfolk took full advantage to post a score of 261-5 in their 50 overs, which was probably only about par for the wicket.
It meant that one of the Bedfordshire batsman had to bat through and play a major innings.
Unfortunately after Luke Thomas (45) and Martin Weightman (32) had put on 78 for the first wicket, both got out, while Matt Barnes, George Thurstance and Andy Reynoldson soon followed as they looked to up the tempo.
At 102-5 after 29 overs, the target was probably already out of reach, but Alex Martin and Greg Hofbauer led a spirited rally with a partnership of 106.
Hofbauer, called into the side only a couple of hours before the game after a late drop-out, went on to top score with 64 off 59 balls before being run out and wicketkeeper Martin made 43 as Bedfordshire finished on 232-9.
Off-spinner Alex King was the pick of the Bedfordshire bowlers, finishing with figures of 3-47 which would have been better but for a missed stumping.
The other wicket-taker was Weightman who had 2-45 and also beat the bat on a number of occasions.
All the Norfolk batsmen got into their stride with Sam Arthurton making 79 and Gary Park 77.
Beds manager Paul Oakins said: “I was a bit disappointed in our extras and the five no balls with three free hits that went for 22 that cost us. Both Evans and Colin Griggs were unlucky early on with a drop at slip.
“Later, when the spinners dragged us back into the game we missed a couple of tough stumpings.
“Add that to the extras and singles I felt we could have cut out and that would have made the difference!
“Thomas and Weightman got us off to a great start but then there was a a flurry of wickets until Alex Martin and Greig Hofbauer put on 106 for the sixth wicket.
“Hofbauer came in at late notice for Zac Khawaja who was ill overnight and has done his claims for Suffolk next week no harm at all with an excellent innings of 64.”