Fakenham beat Dereham by 56 runs to go top of Norfolk Alliance Premier Division

Fakenham'’s Keegan Monahan-Fairlie on his way to a well-deserved maiden century in the Norfolk Alli

Fakenham'’s Keegan Monahan-Fairlie on his way to a well-deserved maiden century in the Norfolk Alliance Picture: MIKE WYATT - Credit: Archant

Fakenham returned to the summit of the Norfolk Alliance Premier Division courtesy of a 56-run victory over neighbours Dereham.

Captain David Coyle lost yet another toss and Fakenham were inserted on a sporty wicket that had sufficient pace and bounce to give interest to both bat and ball, while the overhead conditions were conducive to swing bowling.

Keegan Monahan-Fairlie and Jon Ewart were entrusted with opening the batting and getting through the opening spell, a rarely completed task this season. However, this time the target was achieved and in some considerable style as the pair batted watchfully whilst maintaining a good positive intent.

With 50 runs on the board within 12 overs, a big score was on the cards, and Ewart was looking to dominate the bowlers as he struck five sixes as Monahan-Fairlie settled for running ones and twos. Both players continued steadily and took their totals to within touching distance of maiden centuries for the club before Ewart departed for 97, caught at deep mid-wicket off Duncan Hewitt.

This dismissal only served to bring even more pain to Dereham as Will Dunger strode purposefully to the crease. At his belligerent best, he smashed a 24 ball 44 which included five sixes and finally departed with just two balls remaining and Monahan-Fairlie on 99 not out. Not to be denied he secured the single needed to bring up his maiden Alliance hundred and Fakenham ended 268-2, their best batting performance in a while.

This score was always going to prove a tall order for the league's bottom side, but Ryan Fitt connected with some lusty blows and moved the score along to 40-1 off eight before he departed.

Batsmen then came and went at regular intervals with only Duncan Hewitt (61) and Jonny Bidewell (46) offering much resistance.

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Once Toby Hood and Coyle accounted for them it was left to the pair to finish the innings off and restrict Dereham to 212-9. Coyle (5-35) and Hood (2-30) were the most successful bowlers.

With North Runcton losing at Cromer, the win ensured that Fakenham once again took over the top spot ahead of Saturday's game at home to an in-form Cromer side.

Meanwhile Dereham, now 42 points from the safety mark, have a big game at Diss, the side immediately above them in the table.

Fakenham A had a good 109-run win at home over Winterton in Division Four with Olly Hall scoring a fine 116 not out in a total of 246-7.

The third team also had a 62-run win over Denver to round off a successful couple of weeks for the club.

Dereham A went down by 20 runs at Hales and Loddon in Division Six when chasing 234-5 (Sajitha Nambi 119). They finished on 214-8, with Sam West making 75. They host Diss A on Saturday.