Norwich will challenge for an immediate return to the East Anglian Premier League after clinching the Alliance Premier Division title by beating rivals Fakenham on Saturday.

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The two former EAPL sides have been vying for top spot all season and it came down to a penultimate day showdown between the pair at Postwick.

And it was Chris Borrett’s Norwich side who had the edge, winning by 65 runs to set up a promotion play-off against the Two Counties Championship winners – either Woolpit or Mildenhall – on Saturday week.

Norwich chose to bat first on Saturday, but lost Australian Nathan Shearer for 15, bowled by Fakenham’s New Zealander Sam Wells.

Frankie Sutton (22) and Olly Higenbottam (31) doubled the score, taking it to 70, before both fell in quick succession and when Borrett was caught and bowled by Sean Cooper, the hosts had slipped to 87 for four.

Ashley Watson (44) and Chris Sutton (52) then joined forces in a decisive stand of 84, helping Norwich to reach 200 for seven from their 50 overs.

Fakenham started solidly as openers Keegan Monahan-Fairlie and Luke Findlay added 31, but after Aaron Watson made the breakthrough for Norwich, the hosts went for the jugular.

Aaron Watson claimed the key wicket of Wells for just one and by the time skipper Ben Harvey was out, Fakenham were 68 for six and the title was slipping away.

Fakenham’s number 10 James Moy (24) threatened to take the fight into the final weekend, but he was the last man out with three overs remaining and the visitors on 135. Aaron Watson finished with four for 35 and Ben Flanagan claimed four for 26.

Downham guaranteed themselves third place – and could still beat Fakenham to runners-up spot as the two teams meet on Saturday– after their five-wicket win at home to Vauxhall Mallards A.

Cei Sanderson hit 49 for Mallards, while Downham debutant opening bowler Sam Sharp claimed three for 14. Downham skipper Duncan Lanchester (45no) led his side to victory in the 29th over.

At the bottom, Ashmanhaugh & Barton Wanderers are still fighting for their lives after a winning draw at home to Stow.

South African Hendro Puchert smashed 114no as Wanderers secured maximum batting points, despite Josh Ring taking five for 64. Ed Landymore hit 57 for Stow as they averted defeat, finishing eight wickets down and 83 runs shy of Wanderers’ total.

Lowestoft are nine points clear of Wanderers following their 90pc losing draw at North Runcton. Billy Brice (97no) ensured Lowestoft gained a greater share of the points after Runcton skipper Andrew Barrett had fired 55 for the hosts.

Sprowston’s eight-wicket win at home to Old Buckenham left them needing five points on the final day to be sure of safety.

Bucks skipper Terry Perry hit 57, but Sprowston seamer Andy Hanby took four for 35, including three wickets in four balls.

Sprowston made light work of their target as Jon Leverett (57), Rob Purton (53no) and skipper Simon Chipperfield (48 including six sixes and two fours) wrapped up victory.

Diss claimed a 90pc losing draw at relegated Acle.

Tom Wilson top scored for the hosts with 67, while Diss’ Simon Cooper took six for 59. Liam Brown (53) was Diss’ top scorer as they got to within 11 runs of the Acle score with nine wickets down.

Garboldisham beat Old Buckenham A by six wickets to seal the Division Three title and the one promotion place ahead of Great Witchingham A, who completed their games the week before.

In Division Two, Saxlingham beat Fakenham A by eight runs. Saxlingham’s Dave Adams took four for 24 and Fakenham’s Yin Lo claimed five for 45.

The one other result was in Division Five, where Stow A beat Norwich B by 24 runs, despite Steve Clarke’s 62 for Norwich.

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