Swardeston’s Jordan Taylor played the starring role as Norfolk booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Minor Counties Unicorns Knock-Out Cup with a game to spare yesterday.
Taylor made an unbeaten 84 to steer his side to a solid four wicket win over Northumberland at Benwell Hill after the home side had been restricted to 198 in their 50 overs.
That made it three wins out of three for Chris Brown’s side and they now have a last eight match to look forward to on Sunday, June 12, with their final group game against Cumberland at Fakenham in two weeks time being of academic interest only.
After winning the toss and deciding to bat first, Northumberland were kept in check by some disciplined bowling and looked in danger of posting a well below-par total when they slipped 112-7 in the 36th over.
But just as an early finish was looking a distinct possibility tail-enders Chris Youldon and Michael Allan gave their side something to defend with an excellent eighth wicket partnership of 82.
Youldon was eventually run out by Sam Arthurton for 41 while Allan was still there at the close on 40 as Northumberland were dismissed for 198 off the final ball.
Chris Brown used seven bowlers and only one of them failed to take a wicket.
The Norfolk skipper had the best figures of the day, taking 2-35 from his 10 overs, while Ben France also impressed as he conceded just 24 in his 10 while claiming a wicket.
In reply openers Arthurton and France got Norfolk off to a solid start, before France went for 17 with the score on 27. Arthurton and Garry Park also fell in the teens but by then Taylor was getting into his stride, with the visitors comfortably placed on 95-3 in the 27th over.
The game was then effectively wrapped up by Taylor and Swardeston colleague Lewis Denmark, who put on 65 for the fourth wicket to take Norfolk to within sight of their target.
Denmark scored 30 in only 35 balls before being caught off the bowling of Sameet Brar and it was then left to James Hale (13) and Ashley Watson (5) to keep Taylor company as Norfolk moved to within six of their target.
They eventually got home in the 48th over, with Brown the other not out batsman.
Lee Dixon was Northumberland’s most successful bowler, taking 2-7 in only three overs.
Taylor’s fine innings was made off 111 balls and included seven fours.
Cumberland beat Lincolnshire by five wickets in yesterday’s other Group Three match to move into second place in the table, three points behind leaders Norfolk.