Fakenham aim to close the gap
Fakenham make their shortest trip of their Gibbs Denley EAPL season on Saturday when they visit Great Witchingham.Both sides need a win. Fakenham, bottom with 40 points, need to close the gap on Norwich (68 points), their Saturday hosts (76) and Horsford (94) after the weekend's rain-affected home draw with Bury St Edmunds, writes John Cushion.
Fakenham make their shortest trip of their Gibbs Denley EAPL season on Saturday when they visit Great Witchingham.
Both sides need a win. Fakenham, bottom with 40 points, need to close the gap on Norwich (68 points), their Saturday hosts (76) and Horsford (94) after the weekend's rain-affected home draw with Bury St Edmunds, writes John Cushion.
Opener Tom Huggins powered his way to 131 as Bury set Fakenham a 225-6 target off 34.2 overs. Fakenham had reached 127-3 with skipper Michael Smith on 48 not out when rain halted play for the day in the 34th over. Fakenham took six points, Bury 12.
The match was sponsored by bookbinder Richard Lane and Pat Johnson (Paint & Body Repairs.)
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Vice-captain, all-rounder Sean Cooper, speaking before the game, was confident about the rest of the season.
“The focus for us is not to avoid finishing bottom, but to bounce back,” said Cooper.
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“The belief among the senior lads is we can do that. We're only a game from the halfway stage now and theoretically we should be 60 or 70 points adrift. This year you can see from a lot of the results that teams are just getting over the line.
“If we can pick up a couple of positive results we can close that gap on the sides above us.
“Home form is crucial. We have one of the best grounds and facilities in the league. We've also got a loyal support base and it's time we stepped up to the mark now and started to perform.”
Cooper admits winless Fakenham still rue blowing a golden opportunity to bag a priceless opening-day victory against Clacton.
“Certainly that was one game we were in control of but let it slip over the last 10 overs,” he said. “That should've been our first win and the perfect start. It's just normal Fakenham really.
“We know how difficult it is to compete on the same level as a lot of other sides but we rely on team spirit and hard work to get us through.
“We've let a lot of games get away from us. The biggest thing is we have to turn up and play as a team and not rely on just one or two individuals.”
Cooper is challenging the club's promising young bowling attack to support county paceman Ian Slegg.
“Sleggy is probably only playing at about 50 per cent of his capability since getting injured,” said Cooper. “It's difficult to lose someone like that. If you take 35 or 40 guaranteed wickets out of any side it would be a big loss. That puts extra pressure on our two young opening bowlers.
“But as they always say, 'someone's misfortune is an opportunity for someone else.' Ben Smart has played development cricket and, along with Adam Woodhouse, they've had a lot of faith shown in them. We believe they are good enough and they have to take it on now.”
Cooper followed up his season's best knock of 37 against Mallards the previous week with 19 against Bury.
“With the ball, I'm happy, with the bat, I'm one of the guys who has been quite embarrassing,” he said. “I've been letting the side down.”
Fakenham's mid-table Alliance Division Three team (185-1) won away to Downham A (184-6). On Saturday they entertain section leaders Hillington at Highfield Lawn, 1.30pm start.