Harvey stays fully focused

Fakenham skipper Ben Harvey insists his side will not let their standards slip for the remaining five games of the season despite having one hand on the Alliance Premier Division title.

Harvey’s side completed the double over reigning champions Downham on Saturday to rubber stamp their authority on the division as they moved 72 points clear at the top.

Another victory this weekend against North Runcton would not quite seal the title, but Harvey wants to maintain a winning attitude ahead of a potential play-off match to regain their place in the East Anglian Premier League: “We really want to press home our advantage,” he said. “Naturally we want to win the league and to win it as soon as possible, but whether that happens when we play Cromer next weekend or Brooke in the final game, it wouldn’t change our attitude. We want to maintain the same positive mentality so that if we do win the league we take that into the play-offs.”

Saturday’s 30-run victory ended the mini blip which had seen Fakenham go two games without a win and Harvey added: “We played some good cricket and so did Downham, it was a very good game. We knew at the start it was important to get back to winning ways and by beating the champions it would put us right back on track. It was a bit disappointing to not quite win the previous match against Lowestoft but we trained hard in the week and that certainly showed, because we took our chances and the bowlers bowled with more discipline.”

Harvey had special praise for youngsters Will Dunger and Yin Lo who stepped up from the second team and bowled impressive spells, while veteran Ian Slegg picked up three more wickets in his bid to break the Alliance record for the number of wickets taken in a season. Slegg’s tally stands at 43, with the record of 59 set by Parvez Mir for Vauxhall Mallards in 1990.

There was also another starring display from South African Rudi Hillermann on Saturday as he hit 53 and took three for 38.

Runcton provided a stiff test for Fakenham earlier in the season and Harvey expects the same again this weekend: “They will be as keen as everybody is to beat the team at the top,” said Harvey.

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“Their captain Sean Hemeter is a very useful player and they also have Kieron Bunting, who I was delighted to see make his Norfolk debut recently.”