Downham know glory over Fakenham can help them close in on Norfolk Alliance Premier Division crown
- Credit: IAN BURT
Veteran Downham Town skipper Duncan Lanchester has ramped up the pressure on Fakenham ahead of tomorrow's top-of-the-table showdown at the Memorial Ground.
The Norfolk Alliance Premier Division runners-up for the last two seasons to Norwich sit 30 points clear of the side they welcome at the weekend. And with just five games left to play, the 49-year-old insists it's a match their title-challengers can simply not afford to lose.
Lanchester said: 'Fakenham have slipped up the last couple of weeks which is going to make them really keen. They know they can't really come away from our place without a win.
'If we get a lion's share of the points there's not many games left as such. It's a really big game this Saturday and I'm looking forward to it. (Ashmanhaugh & Barton, third) Wanderers may not think it's a two-horse race. But the consistency's been with the top two at the moment, let's just say that. If they get five wins it puts a bit more onto us two. Cromer aren't far behind them.
'A lot rests on tomorrow. I think if we can get a good win it's looking pretty favourable for us. But having said that if Fakenham turn us over, as they did earlier in the season, it's all up between us two again.'
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Keegan Monahan-Fairlie's 66 wasn't enough to prevent his Fakenham side from drawing with lowly Sprowston last time out. Dowham came away with a hard-fought victory at Old Buckenham which has seen them slip from third to fifth.
With 125 points still up for grabs there are likely to be plenty of twists and turns yet. But Downham – won won a record four Premier titles in a row from 2007 – look strong candidates to clinch their first crown in four years as the season draws to a close.
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They've only lost once this season, that was at Fakenham, but captain Lanchester is certain that match will have no bearing on the outcome of this weekend's crunch top-flight clash.
'It might give them a psychological advantage, but it won't do anything to us,' added the Downham stalwart.
'We played poorly that day and were well and truly beaten by a better side. They batted better, bowled better and fielded better on the day and deserved to beat us. We'll definitely be better than that this weekend.
'Having said that, they've got good players. They've got a pro who's quite sharp with the ball (Brandon Viret) and they've got some good batters. The two lads at the top, Keegan and young (Luke) Findley are both good players, so they must fancy their chances. Fakenham will turn their form round at some point, I hope it's just not this weekend.'
Listen to the 38th West Norfolk Sports Podcast, online at www.edp24.co.uk/wnsp this evening, to hear the full interview with Lanchester.