Fakenham’s champs told to finish job

Fakenham captain Ben Harvey has warned that the job is only half done after his side clinched the Norfolk Alliance Premier Division title with two games still to play.

Harvey's side will now go into a promotion play-off as they attempt to win back their place in the East Anglian Premier League following last year's relegation.

Fakenham ensured they would be champions with a five-wicket win over the only side who could mathematically catch them, Sprowston, on Saturday, and Harvey said: 'Target number one is completed, but target number two is still to be achieved. It would be a bit of a bitter end to the season if we don't achieve promotion, so we need to knuckle down now.'

Harvey paid tribute to his side and felt Saturday's victory was a perfect illustration of why they are champions: 'Even though it has been on the cards, we haven't paraded about as champions until it's official,' he said. 'We played a very good Sprowston side on Saturday and they were 100 without loss with their openers looking really impressive. All credit to our bowling attack who have been phenomenal all season – they then took all 10 wickets for 77 runs and really turned the screws.

'I thought the bowling and fielding on Saturday really proved why we deserve to be champions, it was a fantastic performance.'

After several seasons of struggle in the EAPL, this year's success has come as a welcome relief and Harvey added: 'I wouldn't say it's been straightforward – we've had to play some very good cricket and you under-estimate other teams in this league at your peril.

'I didn't expect us to wrap it up with two games to go, but that's a testament to the players who have trained hard through the winter and during the season and really improved their skills. Having been sick and tired of losing games, it has been nice to take on the mantle of a winning side.'

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Joe Pipkin was the star of the show for Fakenham on Saturday as he halted Sprowston's impressive start with figures of five for 45, before hitting 57 in the hosts' successful reply. Stephen Gray (83) was Fakenham's top scorer, while Jon Leverett made 53 for Sprowston.