Beaten Norfolk set for away test in Minor Counties Unicorns Knockout Trophy quarter-finals

MCCA Unicorns Knockout Trophy. Norfolk (batting) vs Cumberland at Fakenham Cricket Club. At the crea

MCCA Unicorns Knockout Trophy. Norfolk (batting) vs Cumberland at Fakenham Cricket Club. At the crease is Lewis Denmark. Picture: Ian Burt

Norfolk fluffed their lines at Highfield Lawn as they squandered the chance to win their Minor Counties Unicorns Knockout Trophy group.

While Chris Brown side's progression to the quarter-finals had already been secured prior to yesterday's match in Fakenham, they knew the fixture against Cumberland – a straight shoot-out for top spot in Group Three – remained crucial. Importantly, they were only too aware that first place would set up a home tie in the last eight – something Norfolk haven't enjoyed at that stage for the last three years – a hurdle they have failed to breach on a trio of successive occasions.

Having won their previous three matches, hopes were high that Norfolk could get the job done. But it was not to be as the hosts were beaten and must now take their dreams of reaching the last four on the road.

Norfolk had given themselves a chance when a 98-run partnership between Jordan Taylor (63) and Lewis Denmark (78) hauled their team from 31-3 into three figures. The latter teamed up with Ashley Watson to keep things ticking along after Taylor had departed as the morning's group leaders reached 220 before they lost their final wicket.

Jonathan Miles (52) and captain Gary Pratt (74 not out) put the visitors in control and in the end it was more than comfortable with Cumberland easing home with eight overs remaining to clinch an important six-wicket triumph.

As a result of their first defeat in the 2016 competition, Norfolk will now visit Staffordshire on June 12 while Cumberland will attempt to enjoy home comforts against Devon.