Protest puts Fakenham into final

PUBLISHED: 12:09 10 July 2008 | UPDATED: 10:23 07 July 2010

Fakenham have been handed a place in the final of the Biss Rose Bowl competition by the protest withdrawal of Cromer, who saw their semi-final “victory” at Highfield Lawn scrubbed from the records.

Fakenham have been handed a place in the final of the Biss Rose Bowl competition by the protest withdrawal of Cromer, who saw their semi-final “victory” at Highfield Lawn scrubbed from the records.

Fakenham will play Brooke in the final at Brundall on Monday, August 25.

When rain intervened at Fakenham, Cromer were ahead of the required run rate, on 118-4 from 23 overs, chasing Fakenham's 227-6 from their 50 overs.

Cromer claimed victory under conditions agreed with the umpires and captains of both sides - but competition rules state that, while earlier rounds can be decided on run rate, semi-finals and the final cannot - and organisers ordered the match to be replayed.

Aggrieved at that decision, Cromer have opted to withdraw from the competition.

Club chairman John Graveling said: “As far as we are concerned, we stand by the umpires' decision over the result.

“We were taken aback to learn the next day that the game had to be replayed. We just feel sad about it. We had to phone around the players on Monday and nobody was keen to replay the game, so we made this decision.

“We came away from the game thinking we had made the final, and everyone is so disappointed.

“We have no gripes with Fakenham or the umpires, we just feel the Biss committee should stand by the umpires' decision on the day.”

Competition organiser Paul Ingram said: “There was confusion, so we sought a report from the umpires and from the two teams and it was felt that the decision to award Cromer a victory was not correct.

“The decision was taken to advise both sides they would have to replay and Cromer opted to concede.

“There was a misinterpretation of the rules and they were not properly applied.”

Fakenham chairman Martin Turner said: “We're very disappointed it had to happen this way.

“The game would have been very tight and we were more than happy to replay.

“The most disturbing thing was that nobody, including the umpires, knew the rules until I phoned the result in and was told that semi-finals and the final cannot be decided on run rate.

“No-one is jumping with joy here at reaching the final, it almost leaves a bitter taste.”

It is the second controversy to hit the competition this season, after Horsford were expelled for fielding unregistered players in their quarter-final game against Beccles.

Fakenham were on the receiving end of a record-breaking East Anglian Premier League batting performance by Clacton as the Essex side won by 143 runs at the weekend.

The opening stand of 302 between Andrew Turner (102 not out) and Martin Cull (181) set a new EAPL record for a first wicket partnership and allowed Clacton to pile up 319-2 from their 66 overs.

Fakenham were soon in trouble as Paul Dunger, Michael Smith and Stephen Gray all fell in single figures.

Keegan De Ridder (30), Sean Cooper (28) and Phil Gray (26) battled valiantly, but the target was simply too big and Fakenham crumbled to 176 all out, Martin Smith taking six wickets.

On Saturday, Fakenham entertain Godmanchester (11am start).

Fakenham teenage seam bowler Ben Smart suffered frustration after his first Norfolk call-up was hit by rain.

He was picked alongside Fakenham's wicketkeeper-batsman Stephen Gray for the three-day game with Hertfordshire but all three days, Sunday to Tuesday, were washed out.

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