Fakenham ready for Alliance challenge

CRICKET: New Fakenham captain Ben Harvey insists his team will be taking no-one lightly after dropping down into the Norfolk Alliance, writes Phil Banyard.

Fakenham were relegated from the East Anglian Premier League on a heartbreaking final day last season, but have regrouped and are looking forward to their Alliance Premier Division opener at Norwich & Coltishall Wanderers this Saturday.

Harvey said: “Everybody is very excited about the new challenge. We’re an ambitious club and we were disappointed with what happened last year, but we showed that we can win big games.

“We won the Carter Cup last year and you don’t do that through a fluke.”

Fakenham will be hoping to challenge the dominance of Downham, who have won the Premier Division title for four successive seasons, but have continually passed over the opportunity to move up to the EAPL.

Harvey added: “Downham are a very good side, you don’t win the league four years in a row without being a good side, but there are other good teams in the league as well. “We played Norwich & Coltishall Wanderers in the Carter Cup last year so we know about them and we won’t be taking anyone lightly because we understand that teams will be out to beat both us and Downham.”

Fakenham have recruited South African seam bowling all-rounder Rudi Hillermann as their overseas player.

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The 25-year-old plays for KwaZulu Natal Inland in his home country and has 52 first class wickets, as well as a healthy batting average of 27.71.

Left-arm spinner James Moy has joined from Sheringham, although opening bowler Angus Stuart has returned to Downham. Former captain Sean Cooper should be available, while Kevin Gray has been installed as first team manager.

Harvey does not believe that the pressure of being one of the favourites to challenge Downham will be a burden for his side: “We have to try and revel in that pressure,” he said.

“Ultimately we are amateur cricketers and yes, there is pressure, but it’s not something we’ll be thinking about. We just need to think about playing some good cricket and having some fun.”