Fakenham cricketers aim to bounce back

Fakenham Cricket Club chairman Martin Turner said a quick return to the region’s top flight was the aim next season, following the East Anglian Premier League side’s relegation by one point over the weekend, writes John Cushion.

Fakenham’s nine-year stay in the EAPL came to an end on Saturday as Halstead pulled off another great escape.

Stephen Gray’s side crumbled to an eight-wicket derby defeat at Great Witchingham, while Halstead did just enough in their draw against Clacton to finish one point above Fakenham.

The chairman said this week: “It’s our intention to go straight back up. It is imperative we stay in the premier league.

“The players have been asked to let us know by the end of the month what they want to do next season. We are fairly confident we will keep the nucleus.”

He hoped that the players who had seen the club relegated would be prepared to stay and put things right.

Gordon Turner holds his annual president’s day at Highfield Lawn on Sunday.

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Relegation means a return to the Norfolk Alliance for Fakenham – and that brings a logistical headache for the league’s management committee as they work out how best to accommodate an extra team.

Fakenham were put into bat at Walcis Park on Saturday and after Sanjaya Rodrigo (26) and Gayan Wijekoon (51) had built a promising platform, the innings disintegrated.

Skipper Gray was dismissed by Norfolk colleague Carl Rogers without scoring as Fakenham folded to 124 all out in the 45th over.

Witchingham’s West Indian paceman Jason Dawes took four for 20.

The hosts lost prolific captain James Spelman early in their reply as he fell 48 runs short of passing 1,000 in the league this season.

But Rogers fired an unbeaten 67 and along with Sam Arthurton (28no) guided Witchingham to victory in the 45th over.

Halstead were set a victory target of 211 by Clacton and although they managed just 108 for seven in reply, the draw proved good enough to surpass Fakenham.

It is the second year running that Halstead have narrowly avoided relegation on the final day.

Great Witchingham (25pts) beat Fakenham (1) by 8 wickets at Great Witchingham.

Fakenham: S Rodrigo b Dawes 26, J Hill c Sam Arthurton b Dawes 4, G Wijekoon c Groves b Dawes 51, B Harvey c Rogers b JM Spelman 4, P Gray lbw JM Spelman 0, S Gray c Sam Arthurton b Rogers 0, S Cooper run out (Sam Arthurton) 1, J Pipkin run out (Hale) 4, J Brown not out 7, A Stuart b Rogers 1, I Slegg b Dawes 6; extras 20. Total (all out, 44.1 overs) 124.

Bowling: J Dawes 11-0-20-4, S Logan 7-0-42-0, JM Spelman 17-5-35-2, C Rogers 10-3-16-2.

Great Witchingham: JM Spelman lbw Wijekoon 7, C Rogers not out 67, J Hale c Cooper b Pipkin 8, Sam Arthurton not out 28; extras 15. Total (2 wkts, 45 overs) 125.

Bowling: A Stuart 9-2-50-0, G Wijekoon 12-4-24-1, S Cooper 5.1-1-17-0, I Slegg 9-5-21-0, J Pipkin 9-4-7-1.