Fakenham pair’s explosive stand

An explosive partnership which produced 100 runs off 54 deliveries was one of the features of Fakenham’s latest Norfolk Alliance Premier Division win, by 207 runs at Vauxhall Mallards A, writes John Cushion.

Joe Pipkin, with 56 off 36 deliveries, and Phil Gray, 78 off 56, put Fakenham in a powerful position after they came together at 156 for four.

Fakenham went on to post 304 for eight, then bowled out their hosts for 97 with South African Rudi Hillerman producing a devastating first over.

Skipper Ben Harvey said Mallards did well to get the game on after the midweek rains. He lost the toss and was asked to bat on a wicket that looked suited to the bowlers.

“The total showed how well we batted,” he said. He and Luke Findlay, called up when Keegan Monahan-Fairlie was unavailable, put on 78 for the first wicket, Findlay going on the make 54.

“That was very pleasing,” said Harvey. “It was nice for a second team player to step up. That’s what we’re aiming for, a competitive squad, not just 11 players in the first team. There are a lot of good young players available, pushing for places.”

With four wickets down came the big-bang partnership between Pipkin and Phil Gray. “When they got together they seemed to explode,” said the skipper. On Brundall’s small ground they gave the innings vital impetus.

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“Three hundred was probably an over-par score for the wicket, but we knew they had two very good batsmen and that 300 would give us a fighting chance,” said Harvey.

“But no-one had allowed for what Rudi would do his first over.” He bowled Steve Goldsmith with his first ball and trapped the Mallards’ pro lbw with his third.

He claimed four for 48, Pipkin four for 24 in a fine all-round performance. Sean Cooper bowled consistenlty with no luck and Ian Slegg at times looked unplayable with two for nine from six overs.

The day was capped by a fine performance in the field, and Harvey concluded: “Everything is going to plan, confidence is high and availability has been consistent. We have used only 13 players in the first team this season, and that makes a difference.”

Fakenham are top with 192 points to N&C Wanderers’ 154, Sprowston’s 135 and Downham’s 131.

A trip to Brooke at the weekend completes a run of three consecutive away matches. Harvey felt Brooke’s league position, fourth from bottom, did not truly reflect their abilities and he regarded them as a competitive outfit.

Yin Lo, the club’s exciting spin-bowling prospect, claimed a hat-trick in Fakenham A’s Alliance Division Two win at Downham A.

Downham A made 138 in reply to Fakenham A’s 163 for eight, Will Dunger again among the runs with 51.

They entertain Hillington on Saturday.

Fakenham had a walk-over into the semi-finals of the Mid Norfolk League Challenge Cup when Lowestoft called off. They entertain Swardeston for a place in the final on July 17.

Sunday sees another attempt at entertaining Swardeston in the NACO Trophy.

Mattishall cruised into the final of the Fakenham-based Dr Fisher Cup on Friday, crushing The Creakes in a match which saw five-wicket hauls for two bowlers.

Mattishall made 130 for six, Tom Fordham making 33 and Ollie Hubbard 42 as teenager Jack Wells took five for 39 off his five overs.

Chris Kay injured a leg while batting and was unable to field for Mattishall as they bowled The Creakes out for 49, Jack Grant claiming five for 10 in the match sponsored by Fanthorpe’s Unisex Hairdressers.

The competition continues tomorrow (Friday) night 6pm. Hillington meet Bradenham in a match sponsored by Corders Budgens Local.