Fakenham on their travels

It’s a case of ‘away the lads’ for Fakenham’s Norfolk Alliance Premier Division leaders as they tackle a run of three successive away games, Sprowston, Vauxhall Mallards A and Brooke.

In what Fakenham skipper Ben Harvey described as a swings and roundabout situation, his side’s last three fixtures of the season are an exact reverse, at home to the same three sides in the same order, writes John Cushion.

At home to Cromer at the weekend, Fakenham maintained their 100 per cent record with their seventh win from seven games to lead Norwich & Coltishall Wanderers by 33 points at the top.

Cromer were bowled out for 149 in the 49th over and Fakenham replied with 150 for three in their 22nd over.

“It was a very pleasing victory,” said Harvey.

“The guys did very well in the field, the standard has been fantastic.

“It’s always difficult to take wickets when batsmen are not playing at their most aggressive.

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“We showed a lot of patience. Ian Slegg (13-3-27-3), Rudi Hillerman (12-6-25-3) and Sean Coooper (11-3-23-2) took the lion’s share of the wickets but James Moy (4-0-18-1) took a vital wicket when we were stuck on having them six down. He got the golden breakthrough.”

In Fakenham’s reply, Keegan Monahan-Fairlie went for a duck, judged caught after the umpires consulted.

There were doubts in Fakenham minds that the ball had carried to the catching corden behind the wicket.

Harvey explained: “The standing umpire was not sure it carried so he asked his square-leg colleague, who had a better view, and he felt it carried.

“They followed the right protocol, you are always happy when the umpires give condsideration.”

Harvey was annoyed with himself for getting out on 48 with a personal half-century beckoning, after a century partnership with Stephen Gray (74 not out), ahead of his game for Norfolk.

Phil Gray got a duck but James Brown (5 not out) calmly saw Fakenham home.

“I was disappointed not to see it through,” said Harvey. “It’s always nicer to win by nine wickets instead of seven, but it was a very good victory.”

He admitted: “The next three weeks are difficult fixtures. We have been surprised by how Sprowston (in third place) have been playing, they are something of a surprise package having come up from Division One.

“We will not be taking anyone lightly. We will be at full strength again.

“Players have been making themselves available, everyone wants to play and they are enjoying their cricket.”

Sunday’s NACO Cup match with Swardeston was abandoned because of rain and will be replayed on Sunday. Fakenham were all out for 198.