Fakenham claim champions’ scalp

“We are not going to get carried away, that’s important,” said Fakenham skipper Ben Harvey after Saturday’s win over the Norfolk Alliance champions for the last four seasons, Downham, saw his side 22 points clear at the top.

Fakenham supporters at Highfield Lawn had to wait until the first delivery of the final over in fading light for a 72-run victory to be confirmed as Joe Pipkin took his return to four for 17, writes John Cushion.

Earlier, the previous week’s seven-wicket bowler Ian Slegg had blown away the Downham top five with another superb show of seam bowling, his final return five for 47 off 12 overs bowled straight through.

Fakenham made 209 for eight with opener Harvey making 47, Pipkin an unbeaten 34 at No 6 and Sean Cooper 35 batting No 7.

Downham looked settled at 44-0 before Slegg entered the fray as first-change bowler and reduced them to 85 for five by the 29th over. They were all out for 137, Cooper claiming one for 24, to make it five Alliance Premier wins out of five.

Harvey had lost the toss and was asked to bat on a greenish, seaming wicket.

“It was not easy early on, it was challenging against players of the calibre of Angus Stuart (who played for Fakenham last season) and Adam Todd. Both bowled well but myself and Keegan (Monahan-Fairlee) were grateful for the bad balls.”

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However, Fakenham appeared to lose their momentum. “We had a flutter of wickets. We played some poor shots, including myslef. We will be working to improve on that.”

He said Pipkin and Cooper batted really well. “We looked for 200 as a first target and thought 209 was a defendable total.

“We had the bowling attack to win it. Slegg is in very good form, and he was well supported by Cooper, Pipkin and Rudi Hillerman.”

Wanting to avoid over-confidence setting in, Harvey said: “It’s a good start. The next game – at North Runcton – is a new challenge.”

Fakenham A lost at Horsford A in Alliance Division Two.

Fakenham A made 170 for seven (Chris Crane 42no, Paul Dunger 36) with Horsford A replying with 172 for three.

On Saturday, Fakenham A entertain Saham Toney (1pm start).

In West Norfolk League Division Four, Fakenham B (19 points) made 215 for eight to Castle Acre’s 213 for nine (9pts).