Norfolk have called upon teenage opening bowler Bud Bailey to bolster their chances of moving one step closer to a one-day final at Lord’s.
The 18-year-old, who made his first-class debut for Northamptonshire earlier this season, has been named in the 12 for Wednesday’s (18 June) MCCA Knockout Trophy quarter-final against Lincolnshire at Grantham (11am).
Bailey, who is attached to Northants Academy and plays club cricket for Swardeston, made his senior Norfolk debut in the same competition last season, and has been made available as they bid to book a home semi-final against Devon. Skipper Carl Rogers said right-arm medium-fast bowler Bailey was a valuable addition to the squad.
“Northants have said they are quite happy for him to play. He’s played a lot of cricket and had a couple of first-class games this season so we felt he was a good option to have,” said Rogers.
“We’ll make a decision on the team on the morning of the game when we’ve had a look at the wicket.”
Norfolk also welcome back batsman Trevor Ward to the one-day side. A calf injury ruled the 40-year-old Ward out of the final Group Two game against Northumberland at Morpeth – in which Norfolk secured their quarter-final place with victory by five runs – but he returned to make 75 in the first innings in the three-day championship match against the same opposition at Jesmond.
“Wardy is back. Darren Robinson stood in for the last match because of his injury but Wardy was always going to be the pro for this season,” said Rogers.
Batsman Carl Amos also returns after being unavailable for the game at Morpeth.
Rain has been forecast for Grantham tomorrow, but with no reserve date or replay option, there must be a decision on the day – even if it means a bowl-out or, worse still, the toss of a coin.
Norfolk had two thrilling encounters with Lincolnshire last season, losing the one-day game at Manor Park by six wickets with just two balls remaining, but gaining revenge in the championship match during the festival when they squeezed home by one wicket.
“Last year we lost the one-dayer against Lincs, but we probably should have won – it could have gone either way. But we won the three-day game,” said Rogers.
Lincolnshire, under new skipper Rob Cook, have made a marvellous start to the season, with a 100 per cent record in Group Four of the one-day competition, and they carried the momentum into their opening three-day game, beating Staffordshire by 186 runs at Sleaford and taking the maximum 24 points.
“They’re a strong side, there’s no doubt. They won all four of their group games but there is no reason at all why we cannot beat them,” said Rogers.
“I think we’ve got a strong side – the best 12 who are available. We’ve got quite an experienced side and we know what we’ve got to do. There is a good mix of senior and junior players.”
Norfolk became the first side to win the Minor Counties one-day trophy four times when they beat Wiltshire in the final at Slough in 2005 after a washout on the scheduled date at Lord’s, where opening batsman Rogers had played a key part in their 1997 and 2001 successes.
If they beat Lincolnshire, they will play Devon in the semi-final at Manor Park on Sunday, July 13, with a reserve date on Monday, July 14, and the possibility of a replay after that if the calendar allows. The final is at Lord’s on Wednesday, August 6.
Devon reached the last four when they beat Cheshire by six wickets at Boughton Hall.
“Devon would be a tough game, although it would be a long journey for them for a one-day game, but we have to forget about that,” said Rogers. “The big incentive, as everyone knows, is a final at Lord’s.”
The other semi-final will be between Oxfordshire, four-wicket victors over Staffordshire at Leek, and Berkshire, who beat Cambridgeshire by 91 runs at Falkland.
Lincolnshire – M C Dobson, P N G Morgan, M P Dowman, Vikram Atri, P G Cook, R W Cook (capt), O E Burford (wicket-keeper), S J Airey, B W Houston, E J Wilson, A Carter.
Norfolk (from) – C Amos, C J Rogers (capt), T R Ward, J M Spelman, C R Borrett, J C Mickleburgh, S K Gray (wicket-keeper), C Brown, G W Walker, M W Thomas, S P Bailey, M P Eccles.