Carter Cup triumph for Fakenham

Fakenham Cricket Club won the Carter Cup for the first time on Sunday as they defeated Horsford by 16 runs in a tense encounter at Manor Park in the 42nd year of Norfolk's top trophy competition.

Fakenham Cricket Club won the Carter Cup for the first time on Sunday as they defeated Horsford by 16 runs in a tense encounter at Manor Park in the 42nd year of Norfolk's top trophy competition.

Phil Gray produced a man-of-the-match 55 to help elevate his team from 44 for five to their 176 total, before Sanjaya Rodrigo (four for 38) and a three-wicket haul by Angus Stuart helped ensure that Chris Brown's hard-working 51 was in vain for Horsford.

It fulfilled one of skipper Sean Cooper's ambitions of bringing major honours back to the Fakenham club during a three-year plan. His batsmen showed real grit in rescuing what looked a hopeless cause then the side produced by far its best fielding performance of the season.

Fakenham's 'Barmy Army' of supporters led the victory charge onto the pitch after Stuart had shattered the stumps of the controversial Brown.

The Norfolk county coach and Horsford skipper took his time facing up to bowlers and had spectators calling for the umpires to limit his many breaks to change gloves, take drinks and receive treatment. He retired hurt at a key time when Horsford were falling behind the runs chase, and could not halt the Fakenham charge when he returned as last man.

After winning the toss and deciding to bat, Fakenham started on the back foot. Caswell had Cooper caught behind in the sixth over then Rodrigo, playing with a toe injury, was trapped lbw by Caswell, before Stephen Gray (1) nicked behind off the same bowler. Gayan Wijekoon was looking dangerous, but on 15 his thick edge off Nathan Perry-Warnes was caught well in the gully by Matthew Wilkinson.

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Ben Harvey (8) soon followed as Caswell claimed his fourth victim to leave Fakenham struggling on 44-5.

Joe Pipkin and Phil Gray negotiated the spin of Brown and Ryan Findlay though and managed to make it to lunch with the sixth wicket intact.

After the break, they batted positively before Pipkin was stumped in the 44th over as he attempted to get after Findlay, the decisiive stand 13 short of 100.

Will Dunger (1) then fell to Brown as Fakenham looked to be struggling again on 135-7.

Knowing he had to up the rate, Phil Gray's knock then came to an end as he attempted to hit Wilkinson off his consistent line at the death.

Piper (14) pushed the score on before Perry-Warnes claimed the final two wickets as Fakenham were dismissed for 176.

In reply, Horsford had Warnes (0) trapped lbw by Wijekoon in the third over. This brought Sabburg to the crease and he and Perry-Warnes looked to up the tempo with positive stroke play.

In a great spell for Fakenham, the crucial wicket of Sabburg was claimed by Stuart before Atkinson (1) was the victim of a superb diving catch in the slips from Rodrigo, and Perry-Warnes (15) lofted a shot to Cooper at mid on.

Wilkinson (0) soon followed, bringing skipper Brown to the crease. Both he and Caswell fought hard to rebuild the innings, reaching tea on 68-5. Runs were hard to come by though and Caswell eventually fell to the spin of Rodrigo for 22 as he looked to increase the rate.

Horsford's hopes then rested on Brown - who was struggling with a hand injury - but despite the occasional boundary he couldn't get on top of the impressive attack in which Toby Hood showed great maturity bowling

late on.

Matt Spencely (12) holed out off Rodrigo. Then, with Horsford requiring a run a ball from 10 overs, Brown was forced to retire hurt. When he returned after the stumping of Smith (10), he was left with too much to do and was bowled by Stuart in the final over with his team 17 runs short.

Skipper Cooper said: “It's a great time for the best bowling and fielding performance of the season.”

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