On Saturday afternoon, Fakenham produced their best bowling and fielding performance of the season by far, to beat both the forecast torrential rain and 3rd place Alliance Premier side Brooke.
With heavy rain the forecast for all day on all weather services, it was to everyone’s surprise that half an hour after scheduled start time play was able to start., however the biggest surprise of the day was not that the weather had abated, but that Fakenham’s Captain David Coyle had actually won a toss, although the laws of probability said that it had to happen sometime.
Electing to field on an overcast day with a wicket conducive to seam bowling, Fakenham as usual entrusted the opening over to Luke Caswell to ensure a good start was had in a game that had reduced to 30 overs aside on a small ground that made targets difficult to defend. Caswell made Coyle wonder why he’d bothered winning the toss after one ball as his first delivery was a long hop, dispatched for four. Sanity returned however, and from then on it was all Fakenham. Caswell and Lloyd Marshall bowled perfectly for the conditions and gave the Brooke batting line up no respite as they were reduced to 16-4 off 8 overs when Marshall (2-6 off 4)was removed from the attack. Caswell completed his spell picking up 3-20 off his allotted 6 overs.
Brooke were definitely struggling at 20-5 but with Cebo Tshiki at the crease anything was still possible.
Fakenham’s Billy Buckingham has other ideas however, returning his best figures in the Alliance Premier, Buckingham dismissed the dangerous Tshiki before showing himself to be the best rabbit hunters around, dismissing Brooke’s bottom order en-route to a brilliant 5 wicket haul for just 8 runs as Brooke were dismissed for a paltry 61.
Fakenham’s biggest concern now was going to be the impending rain and Jon Ewart’s running between the wickets.
Ewart and Keegan -Fairlie ensured no early alarm bells rang as they steadily took the score to 22 in the face of some very good bowling, before Ewart finally ran out -Fairlie for 17
Ewart (10) and Ben Harvey(9) were both dismissed lbw, but by this time Fakenham were almost home and dry. There was still time however for Will Dunger’s frailties against the slow long hop to be exposed as he hit one to square leg with just one needed to win. It was left to Caswell and debutant Olly Hall to see Fakenham secure a 6 wicket win and 23 points, just before a prolonged deluge arrived that would have curtailed any more cricket for the day.
The win leaves the side with a 14 point advantage at the top of the Alliance Premier, Saturday’s game is a home fixture against Garboldisham (start 12:00) and Fakenham will be hoping for revenge for the early season loss away to the side.
The successful day was also evident elsewhere, In their home game (at North Elmham) Fakenham 3rd’s also dodged the rain in another 30 over game against Beeston in Norfolk League 4W. Although losing the toss and being asked to field first the Fakenham side made good progress and with more accuracy in the bowling it could have been even better as they dismissed the Beeston side for 109 with only James Laing really showing any resistance as he made 52 and with second highest scorer being extras with 31 and Tom Gill run out for 14 being the only other batsman in double figures.
Ben Ashford and Mark Campbell opened for Fakenham and found the conditions to their liking with both finding the boundary with regularity. Campbell was finally bowled by George Bridges for 24 but the damage had been done and Fakenham with just the loss of one more wicket reached the 110 target in just 19 overs with Ashford an annoying 49 not out. The win lifts the side to 2nd in Norfolk 4W.
The 2nd team also added to the success of the day with a home 7 wicket victory over Beccles in Alliance 4