No surrender as Downham eye title prize

Lovewell Blake Norfolk Alliance: Downham Town are determined to win their first ever Premier Division title, despite ruling out promotion to the East Anglian Premier League. Duncan Lanchester's side, currently 48 points clear at the top, have decided not to enter the play-offs for promotion to the EAPL if they do win the league.

Downham Town are determined to win their first ever Premier Division title, despite ruling out promotion to the East Anglian Premier League.

Duncan Lanchester's side, currently 48 points clear at the top, have decided not to enter the play-offs for promotion to the EAPL if they do win the league.

Lanchester said: "We don't quite feel the time is right for the club. It's a big decision. It would be a big step up and we just don't think we are quite ready.

"Maybe in a couple of years, if we are lucky enough to maintain our present status, it might be different, but the view of the committee was pretty unanimous.

"We are not a big money club. Nine of our first team have come right through the ranks and that is the way we have to do it, we don't have the resources to cajole players to move from other clubs."

Their decision could interest their closest rivals, North Runcton and Norwich & Coltishall Wanderers, who would now be eligible for the play-offs by finishing as runners-up.

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Wanderers are at home to Downham tomorrow and Lanchester is adamant that his players will be fully focused on beating their rivals.

He said: "Tomorrow is a huge game for us. Wanderers have been going well, so it will be a big test.

"The weather was with us last weekend (when Runcton's match was abandoned), but we put a lot of work into making sure we got a game in and we managed to win shortly before the heavy rain arrived. Sometimes these things go your way, and you play when other teams don't, but you still have to win the games."

With Runcton at home to bottom-placed Acle and hopeful of claiming a healthy haul of points, it is likely to be a pivotal weekend of results. Should Downham beat Mohammad Wasim's Wanderers, it would all but eliminate them from the title chase, leaving the west Norfolk clubs to battle it out for the silverware.

Lowestoft find themselves in a similar position in Division One, as they are 41 points clear of the rest, but their opponents tomorrow, local rivals Kirkley & Lowestoft Railway, are unlikely to surrender easily, despite being bottom of the table.

Second-placed Mattishall are at Swardeston, who are third.

Match of the day in Division Two is at Bradfield, where the top of the table hosts welcome the division's form side, Bradenham, who are currently third. Dereham, in second, host Dersingham. Bottom two Garboldisham and Norwich & Coltishall Wanderers also square up to each other.

Sheringham still have a narrow four-point lead at the top of Division Three after last week's game against their nearest rivals, Mundford, was abandoned midway through.

Tomorrow, Sheringham are at home to East Harling, while Mundford are at Ashmanhaugh.