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Fakenham cricketers show character

PUBLISHED: 12:50 08 May 2008 | UPDATED: 10:19 07 July 2010

Fakenham's skipper, South African Mike Smith, was delighted with the character shown by his side over the weekend, which so nearly produced a league win and saw them safely through to the second round of the Carter Cup with a century from Stephen Gray and 82 from new man Keegan Deridder.

Fakenham's skipper, South African Mike Smith, was delighted with the character shown by his side over the weekend, which so nearly produced a league win and saw them safely through to the second round of the Carter Cup with a century from Stephen Gray and 82 from new man Keegan Deridder.

A controversial lbw decision against veteran opener Paul Dunger changed the pattern of Saturday's opening Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League match against Clacton at Highfield Lawn.

On 81 and looking set for a century as he seemed to be guiding Fakenham to victory, he received a delivery which sounded as if it made contact with the toe of his bat, but which the umpire thought had hit his boot. The runs chase rhythm was disrupted and Fakenham had to settle for a draw and 11points to Clacton's 14

Fakenham gave away far too many wides and no balls as Clacton made 249, using 66 overs. In their 54-over reply, Fakenham ended on 215-7 after Dunger, and earlier Stephen Gray (61) had built a potentially winning position.

“We showed a lot of character. Obviously Dilly (Dunger) got a bad lbw decision which changed the game. It would probably have gone down to the last couple of overs but for that. And we still have the likes of Ian Slegg and Stephen Earl to come back.” Norfolk quickie Slegg is having back problems and has a holiday coming up, and his bowling was certainly missed.

Fakenham, who managed to stave off relegation by winning their EAPL play-off against Sudbury at the end of last season, have strengthened their batting department after a string of low totals in 2007.

Norfolk wicketkeeper Stephen Gray has persuaded his brother, Phil, to leave Essex Premier League side Buckhurst Hill and link up with his sibling at Fakenham.

Batsman Richie Williams, an RAF colleague of Fakenham's Shaun Cooper, has also joined, and Deridder, an Australian with a British passport, is another new batsman and spinner in the Fakenham ranks.

With Smith returning for his third year at the club and a new director of cricket, Colin Brassett, in place, hopes are high that Fakenham will fare much better this year.

Chairman Martin Turner said: “We will definitely be stronger. We don't want to be playing in the bottom places again, we want to be mid-table or even higher. Everybody is keen and raring to go.”

Sunday saw a home Carter Cup win over Alliance Division One outfit Mattishall, who at lunch had limited Fakenham to 97-4. That grew to 270-8 after 60 overs with Stephen Gray making 104 (one six, 11 fours).

Mattishall were bowled out for 103 (Garth Stoltz 19, Jason Cole 15, Ben Smart 3-22).

Match balls were sponsored by Ann Johnson.

Fakenham visit Godmanchester on Saturday.

Fakenham's Norfolk Alliance Division Three side won by four wickets at Norwich & Coltishall. Brian Whitwood hit 84 in Fakenham's 157-6 chasing 156-8.

On Saturday they entertain Hunstanton (1.30pm.)

In West Norfolk Division Three, Fakenham (44) lost to Holt (45-4).

On Saturday they visit Heacham, with the Division Five side at Castle Acre.

In the Mid Norfolk League Challenge Cup first round, Fakenham (67-1) beat Sandringham (66-9).

Fakenham's first match in the Norfolk 20/20 Cup is on June 10 when they play Norwich, followed by Mallards (June 19) and Saham Toney (June 26).

Semi-finals are on July 8 and 10 with the final on July 25.

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