Fakenham bowlers in fine form
By JOHN CUSHION
Fakenham maintained their 55-point lead at the top of the Norfolk Alliance Premier Division with an eight-wicket home win over bottom club Stow.
It maintained their 100 per cent win record in the 11 matches they have played, one being lost to the weather.
Fakenham’s bowlers were far too good for Stow, who were dismissed for just 105 in the 41st over. The opening pacemen claimed five wickets, Rudi Hillerman 12.5-2-37-3 and Matty Burton 7-1-19-2, with Ian Slegg (8-4-9-3) again proving deadly and Sean Cooper (11-3-19-1) as accurate as ever as the first-change men.
Cooper’s services are being lost for the rest of the season as he returns for another spell in Afghanistan with the RAF, however.
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Stephen Gray made 52no as Fakenham comfortably chased down the small target.
Opener and skipper Ben Harvey was bowled for four with the reply on 17 in the third over, and with Fakenham on 48 in the ninth over, Keegan Monahan-Fairlie went for 16 to leave the Gray bothers to steer Fakenham home in the 20th over on 110 for two, Phil Gray making an unbeaten 21.
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Sprowston completed the double over reigning champions Downham to move up into second place. Norwich & Coltishall Wanderers’ three-wicket win at Brooke moved them up to third 58 points adrift of Fakenham, who on Saturday visit fifth-placed Diss, looking to complete a league double.
Fakenham captain Harvey said he was “very pleased, again, with the victory” but conceded: “From a spectator’s point of view, we understand it must be frustrating not being able to watch a full game of cricket. But we’ll still take the 20 points!”
Harvey said the loss of Cooper would be a great disappointment to the side. “He will be a big miss but we are looking forward to his speedy return in 2012. We have young players in the second team and we hope they will take their chances in the first team.”
Despite their record, there is no talk at Highfield Lawn of Fakenham winning every Alliance match this season.
“We are still taking it one game at a time,” said Harvey. “We have some big games coming up such as Lowestoft – who have a decent side and a good pro – and Downham.”
Luke Findlay made 54 of Fakenham A’s 160 at Beccles in Division Two, where they were restricted by Ian Ruddock taking four for 31. Rob Porter (71no) then led Beccles (161 for three) to a seven-wicket win.
On Saturday, fourth-placed Fakenham A entertain Horsford A who are one place and 28 points better off.
In the West Norfolk League, Fakenham C, third in Division Four, made 139 for six at Necton, who were bowled out for 72.