Fakenham CC look to spin for new season

Fakenham hope the introduction of two young spinners and a new South African paceman will lead to a successful defence of their Norfolk Alliance Premier Division title.

The Highfield Lawn club, who are at home to North Runcton on Saturday, have signed promising young slow bowlers Ryan Findlay from Horsford and Ashley Jarvis from Hillington, while Kimeshin Chetty comes in as the overseas player. Batsman Chris Spenceley has also joined from Horsford.

Fakenham skipper Ben Harvey said Findlay would be a direct replacement for fellow left-arm spinner Joe Pipkin, who will be unavailable after moving to London: “We are extremely delighted to have picked Ryan up because it shows players are willing to join an Alliance club from an East Anglian Premier League team and he appreciates how ambitious we are.

“He is still involved with the Northants Academy so he will miss some weekends, but the fact he is involved there is brilliant for him and the club.”

Harvey believes off-spinner Jarvis can make the step up from playing in Division Two last season: “He did particularly well in that division,” said the captain. “Last year we pulled James Moy up from Sheringham and he did fantastically well, so we’re hoping Ashley will follow in his footsteps.”

Chetty, 24, plays for the same KwaZulu Natal team in South Africa as Fakenham’s overseas player last year, Rudi Hillermann, and comes with a glowing recommendation.

“He’s played a couple of games for Northamptonshire’s second XI in the past and he’s very keen to do well for us,” said Harvey. “As with any professional player you hope to have someone with a good pedigree and his record seems to back up the fact that he is a very good player.”

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Fakenham are also likely to be without James Brown owing to work commitments, while Norfolk wicketkeeper/batsman Stephen Gray has joined Swardeston – meaning Harvey will take over behind the stumps.

“Of course Stephen is a big loss, but it’s understandable that he wants to play EAPL cricket,” said Harvey. “I’ll be taking over the gloves and I’m really excited about keeping wicket again. It’s something I’ve always done and I actually think for a captain it is ideal to be a wicketkeeper. You’re in the best spot to see everything and in the friendlies we’ve played so far I’ve actually found it easier to captain from behind the stumps than I do standing at mid-off.”

Fakenham won the Premier Division at a canter last summer, but missed out on promotion back to the EAPL at the first attempt after a play-off defeat to Copdock and Old Ipswichians. This year promises to be a tougher challenge for Harvey’s men with Norwich having also dropped down from the EAPL, but the skipper said: “We are excited about the challenge Norwich will bring. It is difficult to pick yourselves up after relegation, we know how that feels, but they have some very good players.

“Sprowston had a fantastic season last year and Downham will be strong as well, and I’ve got a feeling Acle will do well. They have come up from Division One and they will take encouragement from how well Sprowston did last year after being promoted, so it will be a very competitive league.”