Lethal Lincolnshire rocket into quarter-finals with highest-ever cup total

Matt Lineker, who fired a sparkling century for Lincolnshire.
Matt Lineker, who fired a sparkling century for Lincolnshire.

Lethal Lincolnshire cruised to a 237-run victory over Norfolk to send them rocketing into the quarter-finals of the Unicorns Knockout Trophy competition for cricket’s minor counties.

They amassed their highest-ever total in cup matches, making 381-3 in their allotted 50 overs, which beat the previous best of 376-7 at the same Bracebridge Heath venue against Cambridgeshire in 2010.

Shellshocked Norfolk could muster only 144 in reply, and having also obtained maximum points from wins in their opening two fixtures in the competition, Lincolnshire are now guaranteed a place in the last eight. They have one more qualifier to go, against Northumberland at Jesmond, this Sunday.

In bright and breezy weather, a substantial crowd was expecting a tight contest, given that Norfolk had also won their first two games. But the hosts were in positive mood from the off after winning the toss and electing to bat, and it took a brilliant catch to get rid of Louis Kimber for 17 with the score on 38.

There was no stopping fellow opener Jonny Tattersall, however, as he fired 107, including one six and 15 fours, for his second century of the season in a second-wicket stand of 164 with Matt Lineker that featured some fluent strokeplay and tremendous hitting.

Lineker went on surpass even Tattersall because his devastating knock earned him 153, including more sixes (11) than fours (ten). He put every Norfolk bowler to the sword and, at one stage, he thumped sixes off four consecutive balls.

LIneker also put on 133 for the third wicket with Dan Freeman (48no), who then added a quickfire 46 with Adam Tillcock (29no) to cap the run spree.

Faced with such an enormous target, Norfolk made a healthy start, racing to 33 without loss. But this proved to be the highest stand of the innings as wickets fell at regular intervals from then on, with only opener Sam Arthurton offering any resistance, making 56.

Lincolnshire’s bowlers steadily worked their way through the visitors’ batting, with Tillcock taking 4-41 and paceman Alex Willerton 3-22.