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Fakenham in final of troubled cup competition

PUBLISHED: 13:35 29 July 2010 | UPDATED: 20:37 01 August 2010

Norfolk's most prestigious cup competition faces an uncertain future after three clubs were banned for failing to fulfil fixtures. Ahead of the Fakenham-Horsford Carter Cup final at Manor Park on Sunday, August 8 comes news of a review of that and its associated Lady Mary trophy competition.

Norfolk's most prestigious cup competition faces an uncertain future after three clubs were banned for failing to fulfil fixtures. Ahead of the Fakenham-Horsford Carter Cup final at Manor Park on Sunday, August 8 comes news of a review of that and its associated Lady Mary trophy competition.

Brooke, Happisburgh and Lowestoft have all been banned from the competition for failing to play matches in the Lady Mary Trophy - the competition for teams knocked out in the first round of the Carter Cup. Cromer received a warning after also failing to play a Lady Mary match, but accepting and meeting the penalties imposed on them, writes Philip Banyard.

There were already three vacancies in the Carter Cup at the start of this season and the loss of three more clubs is a damaging blow to the60-over competition, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2008.

Competition chairman John Bettridge said: “Sadly the action, attitude and lack of commitment of these clubs has severely damaged the standing of the competitions and the committee had no alternative but to take these unprecedented steps.”

Bettridge said that a review of all competitions had been submitted to patron Robert Carter and the committee was currently awaiting his response.

He added: “The patrons will want to see a commitment from clubs in Norfolk that they want such a competition to continue and that they will fulfil their commitments to it if they are member clubs.

“What will be uppermost in the patrons' minds is if this haemorrhaging of clubs continues, is the competition likely to keep the prestigious status it has had for many years.

“It is very disheartening what has happened this year.”

The Lady Mary Trophy was relaunched in a Twenty20 format this year in an effort to increase its attraction to clubs - but that move appears to have failed.

Brooke failed to play their match on Sunday, May 30 and did not pay the fine and out of pocket expenses to the host club as required under competition rules. They have received a three-year ban.

Happisburgh were due to play in the same round-robin section as Brooke on May 30, but also pulled out. They also failed to reimburse the host club's out of pocket expenses and have been banned for two years.

The heaviest penalty was imposed on Lowestoft, who have been banned indefinitely. They reached the finals day of the Lady Mary Trophy, but informed organisers the night before the game that they could not raise a side. Lowestoft paid their fine, but a statement from the Carter Cup committee said: “For the lateness and method of notification of withdrawal, preventing any opportunity to reorganise the day including the hospitality of the patrons, Lowestoft's membership of the competitions is immediately withdrawn and banned from further entry indefinitely.”

Lowestoft will be allowed to continue to enter a team in the Junior Carter Cup.

All of the clubs have been informed of the decisions and do not have the right to appeal.

Dereham and Saham Toney both failed to honour first round fixtures in the Carter Cup this year, but were spared further punishment after agreeing to fulfil their commitments in the Lady Mary Trophy.

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