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Five Norfolk Alliance runners-up will miss out on promotion after Norwich’s defeat

PUBLISHED: 09:07 26 September 2018

Norwich's EAPL play-off final defeat spelt heartbreak for Liam Conroy and his Thetford team Picture: ARCHANT

Norwich's EAPL play-off final defeat spelt heartbreak for Liam Conroy and his Thetford team Picture: ARCHANT

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2016

Five Norfolk Alliance teams saw their promotion dreams shattered at the weekend when Norwich dropped out of the East Anglian Premier League.

Ashley Watson’s side were beaten in a rain-affected play-off final at Saffron Walden and that was bad news for the sides who finished second in the Alliance this season.

In normal circumstances two teams would be promoted from each section -–but that can’t happen this time around because of Norwich’s relegation and the failure of Premier Division champions Fakenham to win promotion.

Both clubs will be playing their cricket in the Alliance in 2019, and with no provision for an 11-team line-up only Dereham, who finished top, will be going up from Division One.

That will also be the case in Divisions Two to Five, spelling heartbreak for Martham, Acle A, Sheringham and Denver as well as Division One runners-up Thetford.

“It’s a great shame for the clubs who have missed out but when this situation arises our rules state that two teams are relegated and only one is promoted,” explained Alliance secretary Andy Westgate.

“They would all have known that at the start of the season and, like me, would have been hoping that Norwich won their game on Saturday. But sadly that’s not the way it turned out.

“It is something we have discussed in the past and it was felt it was the best way of dealing with a situation like this. We did experiment with an 11 team league in 2010 when Fakenham came down but it caused all sorts of issues. You have to go from an 18 game to a 22 game fixture grid and it was extremely difficult to fit all the games in.

“So it was decided to stick with 10. It’s tough on the second placed teams when this happens but it would obviously work the other way if the Alliance champions went up and no-one came down. Then two teams would go up from each division and only one would go down.”

Fakenham missed out on promotion to the EAPL after losing to Norwich in the semi-finals of play-offs, with Saffron Walden seeing off Worlington from the Two Counties League to set up Saturday’s final, which they won by seven wickets after bowling Norwich out for 156.

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