Fakenham Cricket Club has season to build on

PUBLISHED: 10:52 04 February 2010 | UPDATED: 11:09 07 July 2010

Fakenham's EAPL skipper Sean Cooper.

Fakenham's EAPL skipper Sean Cooper.

Fakenham Cricket Club are aiming to build on what first team skipper Sean Cooper described as “probably one of the best seasons we have had as a whole club for many seasons.

Fakenham Cricket Club are aiming to build on what first team skipper Sean Cooper described as “probably one of the best seasons we have had as a whole club for many seasons.”

At Friday night's meeting of players and supporters at Highfield Lawn, Cooper looked back on the first year of a three-year plan and gave a vision of the team competing in the top section of the East Anglian Premier Division with mostly local players.

He said Ben Harvey was returning to the club after a spell at Great Witchingham, Indika de Saram had no Sri Lankan international commitments and would be playing for Fakenham; Imran Ali and Sanjaya Rodrigo wanted to play another season and Australian Keegan de Ridder was returning on March 29.

Luke Findlay was joining from Horsford and Angus Stuart - limited by injuries last season - would be fully fit to bowl. Adam Woodhouse, recovering from a bad leg injury, would be available from mid-season, probably as a 3rds or 4ths batsman while he readjusted his bowling action.

“We have four players who are currently recognised as senior Norfolk players,” said Cooper. “Our vision is how soon can we get the first team at the top end of the EAPL with just local players. We need a pro, but I think we are one season away from replacing the 'add-on' players with local ones. But success depends upon players' commitment to the club.”

Director of cricket Colin Brassett said the thirds and fourths had a mixed season. The fourths did not really serve the purpose of producing players for the thirds and above, and this year - with a few older heads to help - would be mainly a team of youngsters. It would give the club's promising crop of young players their first steps towards playing for the first team.

“The under-11s won the county title. In that team, five to seven boys will be pushing for places in the first team within five to seven years. We have got to give them that opportunity,” he said.

Paul Dunger said the seconds achieved one of their aimed-for promotions from Alliance Three in a satisfactory season where youth blended well with experience. They went up as champions.

Of the first team, Cooper said early uncertainty was caused by de Saram being picked late for his country's Twenty20 side and his replacement taking time to settle. The EAPL side was also hit by injuries and players having to put university commitments first.

The side finished ninth, and with more luck in three close finishes “we could have finished fourth or fifth”.

Emphasis was placed on players having regular net sessions.

A new social membership, £10 a year, is being introduced for supporters and it is planned to make more use of the clubhouse facilities. More vice-presidents are also being invited to back the club which fields four Saturday sides, two on Sundays and has a flourishing youth section.

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