Hunts Under 25s were pipped by 12 runs when they entertained Norfolk in the East Of England Development Competition at St Ives yesterday (May 28).
After doing well to get a more experienced Norfolk side all out for 180 in 49.3 overs, Hunts could only manage 168-9 off their 50 overs.
Hunts committed to furthering their excellent youth policy by a 14 year-old debutant and another just one year his senior and in a very inexperienced line-up and they gained some valuable exposure to senior cricket.
Last season’s EEDC champions Norfolk fielded several players with regular East Anglian Premier League experience and for Hunts to push them to the limit was of great credit to the side and new manager Russell Marsh.
Norfolk won the toss and elected to bat but it was the home side that made the better start capturing two wickets in the first three overs to leave the visitors at 16 for 2.
However, opening batsman David Turner batted patiently for more than two and a half hours to hold the side together putting on 47 for the third wicket with skipper Lewis Denmark (23) and a further 49 for the fifth wicket with Robbie Bridgstock (21).
The back of the Norfolk innings was broken by 14 year-old pace bowler James Taylor, who in two spells took four consecutive wickets at a personal cost of just 23 runs.
Michael Hay then joined the attack to claim two further wickets including that of Turner, who returned a match-winning 78.
Taylor finished with 4-35 and he was well supported by Hay (3-29) and Lawrie Marsh (2-34).
If Norfolk had found run-making difficult then Hunts suffered the same fate but to a greater degree.
After losing opener Daniel Bandaranaike in the second over for a duck they struggled to put runs on the board and after 10 overs had scored just 34-2.
However, the third wicket stand slowly compiled by Michael Hay (37) and skipper Josh Bowers (34) added 63 runs – the highest stand of the match - to give Hunts’ some hope of victory.
But when the Hunts two top scorers were dismissed in successive overs by Norfolk opening bowler Adam Todd, returning for a second spell, he became almost unplayable as the lower order Hunts batsmen chased an ever disappearing target sacrificing their wickets in pursuit of quick runs.
A bright 18 by Conor Craig at a run a ball was Hunts’ best offering late in their innings as Todd terrorised the batsman picking up a personal haul of five wickets for just seven runs in 18 deliveries. Todd’s 5-23 from 10 overs was very impressive and his fellow opening bowler Tom Oxley finished with 2-22.