Beds cricketers draw against Norfolk

George Thurstance.
George Thurstance.

Too much time was lost to the weather for there to be a realistic chance of an outright result to Bedfordshire’s Unicorns Championship match against Norfolk at Norwich.

Rain held up play for more than an hour on the second morning and bad light chopped off another 90 minutes in the evening.

By then Norfolk had established a first innings lead of 53 runs and after losing four second innings wickets for 121 runs, Bedfordshire were content to bat out time for a draw on Tuesday.

Bedfordshire must have been surprised to have been put in to bat after losing the toss on Sunday. The wicket was good, conditions were sweltering and really the Bedfordshire batsmen should have made hay.

While Bedford School captain Charlie Thurston was at the crease it looked as though they would do. Thurston is the latest in the list of school captains to play for Bedfordshire, following in the footsteps of current England skipper Alastair Cook, Hampshire’s Will Smith and Northamptonshire duo Alex Wakely and James Kettleborough, and he could also graduate to the first-class game as he has already played for Middlesex 2nd.

In only his second game for his home county he batted beautifully and looked certain to reach a century until running himself out with his score on 90.

Although George Thurstance was also in good form, the Bedfordshire innings stalled for a time during the afternoon and then wickets were thrown away in a vain attempt to get maximum batting points after tea. Thurstance went for 89. Martin Weightman for 47 and Bedfordshire were all out for 298, the last five wickets going down for 13 runs.

Norfolk’s reply owed everything to Sam Arthurton who cracked a magnificent unbeaten 166 as Norfolk raced to 351-9. Bedfordshire skipper Andy Reynoldson, who brought himself on far too late, was the most successful bowler with 4-57.

Because of poor light, Bedfordshire did not start their second innings until the third morning and Thurston (35) again batted well, as did Luke Thomas (38) and Dan Blacktopp (56).

But the middle order rather fell away, ending any hope of Bedfordshire being able to set a declaration. A fine half-century by Alex Martin ensured there was no danger of defeat and Alex King. George Bacon and Shabbz Hussain all helped themselves to runs before Bedfordshire were bowled out for 309, at which point the captains shook hands on a draw.

The county start another three-day game on Sunday, taking on Staffordshire at Longton (Stoke).

Scores: Bedfordshire 298 and 309. Norfolk 351-9dec