Injury worries for top-table Fakenham

Fakenham Cricket Club's flying start to the league season was tempered by a Carter Cup first round reverse on Sunday and news that their two main strike bowlers picked up injuries which are causing concern ahead of Saturday's big test against EAPL newcomers Saffron Walden, writes John Cushion.

Fakenham Cricket Club's flying start to the league season was tempered by a Carter Cup first round reverse on Sunday and news that their two main strike bowlers picked up injuries which are causing concern ahead of Saturday's big test against EAPL newcomers Saffron Walden, writes John Cushion.

After two matches, Fakenham have turned the East Anglian Premier League table on its head to take an early-season lead.

Last year's wooden spoon winners currently sit on top of the league after completing their second win in two games with a six-wicket victory at Godmanchester.

The victory was set up by Angus Stuart, who claimed 4-36 from 12.4 overs.


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He was well supported by Ben Smart with a couple of wickets, while Sean Cooper, Salim Hussain and Sanjaya Rodrigo also picked up a wicket as Godmanchester were skittled out for 152 in 51.5 overs, despite the late efforts of David McCallum who hit 52 not out.

The Fakenham reply got off to a bad start with Sanjaya Rodrigo departing for a duck.

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But James Hill steadied the ship and ended up unbeaten on 69 as Fakenham earned their win while Phil Gray ended up 39 not out. Fakenham are the only team in the division with a 100pc record.

Saturday's visitors to Highfield Lawn, Saffron Walden, lead the chasing pack in second place and Fakenham are hoping treatment during the week to Stuart and Smart will enable them to play.

Fakenham's Alliance side launched their season with a 94-run home win over K&L Railway.

They made 225-5 (Brian Whitwood 55, Chris Crane 56no, Stephen Piper 56no) then bowled out their opponents for 131 (Keegan De Ridder 4-18, Stephen Earl 3-42).

But on Sunday the Carter Cup side crashed to a 101-run home defeat by Alliance Premier Cromer.

The visitors made 242-7, Fakenham dropping five or six catches, and were then bowled out for 141, Smart and Matthew Burton putting on a late stand of 45 to lift the total from 96-8.

Skipper Sean Cooper, frustrated at Sunday's performance against the Alliance side, said nevertheless the club had had an encouraging league start.

Young players who have come to the club had performed and he praised James Hill, who has returned to the club, for his 69no at Godmanchster and Stuart's four wickets. Phil Gray had been playing with more maturity.

A last-wicket stand by Godmanchester made things more difficult, and Fakenham's reply had stood at 2-2. “The Fakenham of last year would have rolled over. This year we have more steel and energy,” said Cooper, pleased with the input of local lads.

One disappointment, however, had been a few negative comments from the boundary. He asked supporters to be patient as the club's three-year strategy took time to click in.

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