Dereham’s Jake Anema is Norfolk Alliance player of the month for July

Jake Anema (centre) receives the Norfolk Alliance player of the month award for July from Robert Ame

Jake Anema (centre) receives the Norfolk Alliance player of the month award for July from Robert Amey of sponsors Cecil Amey Opticians. Also pictured is league secretary Andy Westgate Picture: CECIL AMEY OPTICIANS - Credit: Archant

Jake Anema's key role in helping Dereham reach the top flight of the Norfolk Alliance has been recognised by sponsors Cecil Amey Opticians.

The all-rounder has been named the league's player of the month for July following a string of excellent performances for the Division One leaders.

Anema's bowling statistics for the month were 6-21, 5-13, 4-28 and 3-19, making it a combined total of 18-81 for a stunning average of 4.5.

He also scored 113 not out against Sprowston on the day he took 6-21 during a spell when Dereham strung together a series of wins to help set up promotion with a game to spare.

Dereham clinched promotion alongside Thetford when they beat Topcroft by 13 runs last Saturday and the aim now will be to go up as champions. To do that they need to win at already-relegated Vauxhall Mallards A tomorrow, although Thetford – who are eight points behind them – need to win at Horsford A to stand a chance of catching them.

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The final weekend of the Alliance season looks sure to be an exciting one, with eight points also separating Premier Division leaders Fakenham and second-placed Downham Town.

Having looked out of contention a month ago Fakenham took over at the top last weekend when they bowled Diss out for just 54 before cruising home by nine wickets to make it 10 straight wins.

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Long-time leaders Downham went down by eight wickets at Stow as their inconsistent form continued and all they can do now is to make sure they win their final game at home to Garboldisham, while hoping Fakenham slip up at home to Brooke.

There is also a fascinating match at the other end of the table, with third-from-bottom Cromer travelling to Acle, the side currently occupying the second relegation spot. There are 17 points between the two sides, so Acle will need to win well to stay up at their rivals' expense.

There is also a big showdown in Division One, with Lowestoft – fresh from a tie at Sprowston last week – taking on Bradfield at The Denes Oval in a match that will see the winners stay up.

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