Fakenham’s play-off defeat hard to Swallow

FRANKLY DIGITAL NORFOLK ALLIANCE: Norfolk Alliance champions Fakenham fell at the first hurdle in the EAPL play-off semi-final at home to Marshall Hatchick Two Counties champions Copdock and Old Ipswichians yesterday.

The visitors, invited to bat in the 50-overs per side clash at Highfield Lawn, posted a 285-9 total based around 89 from A Nel and 65 from J Cawkell. Despite 68 from Luke Findlay and 55 from Phil Gray Fakenham fell 56 runs short, all out for 229 in the 46th over with C Swallow claiming 5 for 36 off eight overs. Copdock will play Ramsey CC, winners of the Tucker Gardner Cambs & Hunts Premier League, in the final on Saturday.

Disappointed Fakenham captain Ben Harvey said: 'They are a decent side and they played better all-round cricket than we did on the day. We weren't far off the pace but there were a few wides too many and we weren't disciplined enough with our bowling or fielding. But he added: 'We don't want it to take the shine off what we have achieved this year winning the league by getting on for 100 points.'

• An unbeaten 65 from James Coe helped Stow to secure top flight safety as they beat West Norfolk neighbours, and four-times champions Downham on the final day of the season. Daniel Ward and Jack Redhead shared six wickets as the visitors were dismissed for 141 before Stow completed the job with seven wickets in hand. Stow's success sealed relegation for Brooke and Cromer who started and ended the day in the bottom two. Cromer beat Brooke last week to given themselves some hope of beating the drop if final day results went their way but they ended up as wooden spoonists after losing to visitors Norwich and Coltishall Wanderers by seven wickets.

Despite facing the toughest of tasks against runaway champions Fakenham, Brooke refused to be tarnished by defeat. Fakenham had posted a 232-3 total, based around Phil Gray's unbeaten 104 in 92 balls and Luke Findlay's 66. James Moy took 5 for 21 as Brooke were reduced to 140-8 in reply but Jeandre Jumat refused to be beaten, contributing a defiant unbeaten 59 in a drawn match reduced to 35 overs per side.

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Meanwhile Sprowston crowned their return season to the top flight after an absence of several years by clinching runners-up position and clocking up 300 points in the process. In a high-scoring encounter at Brundall, Sprowston posted 299-8, based around 60 from Jon Leverett and 51 from Tim Hales.

Half the wickets fell to Connor Green, who claimed 4 for 84. Mallards A's reply was dominated by Ollie Stone's 89 as they reached 201-8 but the match was abandoned because of bad light.

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Sprowston spinner Rob Purton claimed six for 56 against his old club. Diss ended their season with a flourish as they swept aside Lowestoft Town. James Shepherd took 4 for 21 as the Suffolk visitors were dismissed for 99. James Wilby's unbeaten 52 saw Diss home without alarm.

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