Wanderers set to miss out

Norwich & Coltishall Wanderers' hopes of promotion to the East Anglian Premier League could be dashed after they were found guilty of "mismanagement and apathy" towards junior cricket.

Norwich & Coltishall Wanderers' hopes of promotion to the East Anglian Premier League could be dashed after they were found guilty of "mismanagement and apathy" towards junior cricket.

Wanderers' first team, who lie second in the Norfolk Alliance Premier Division, have been deducted five points and the club fined £75 by a Norfolk Cricket Alliance disciplinary panel after failing to fulfil several youth fixtures this season.

But the real punishment is set to come from the EAPL, who it is understood are unlikely to accept Wanderers given the panel's findings. The EAPL have stringent regulations regarding youth set-ups and the punishment is likely to preclude Wanderers from being invited to take part in the promotion play-offs.

Chairman of the Alliance's disciplinary committee, John Dewing, said: "We felt there was mismanagement and apathy towards the junior competitions and that is why they, along with two other clubs, have been punished."

Cromer, who are third in the Premier Division and Brooke, who have already been relegated, were punished for similar offences and both clubs were also fined £75 and deducted five points.

Alliance chairman John Tythcott added: "It is a prerequisite for clubs at that level in our league that the youth set-up has to meet the required standards."

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He added that the Alliance would be closely monitoring all three clubs next season and that heavier punishments could follow if they fell short again.

The play-offs are now likely to be between the side finishing bottom of the EAPL - either Fakenham or Clacton - and Sudbury, of the Two Counties Championship, next Saturday.

Fakenham are currently bottom and trail Clacton by 22 points, but the two clubs play each other tomorrow at Clacton in the final round of EAPL matches.

At the top, Swardeston know they need 17 points from their game against Norwich at Ingham to guarantee their first EAPL title.

If they slip up, their old rivals Vauxhall Mallards are poised to take advantage, as they trail the leaders by 13 points.

But Mallards face a tricky trip to Horsford, who have won five of their eight games at Manor Park this year and have lost just once on their home ground.

Godmanchester need a big points win against Cambridge Granta and for both Norfolk sides to have an off-day if they are to stand any chance of landing the title.