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Dereham v Fakenham – Norfolk Alliance Premier

Fakenham’s Keegam Monahan-Fairlie on his way to his well-deserved Club and Alliance maiden century

Dereham v Fakenham – Norfolk Alliance Premier

On Saturday Fakenham returned to the summit of the Norfolk Alliance Premier Division courtesy of a 56 run victory over Dereham.

Fakenham’s captain, David Coyle, yet again wasted everybody’s time tossing up and Fakenham were inserted on a sporty wicket that had sufficient pace and bounce to give interest to both bat and ball, while the overhead conditions were certainly conducive to swing bowling as well.

Keegan Monahan-Fairlie and Jon Ewart were entrusted with opening the batting and getting through the opening spell, a rarely completed task this season. However this time the target was achieved and in some considerable style as the pair batted watchfully whilst maintaining a good positive intent. With 50 runs on the board within 12 overs, a big score was on the cards. Ewart was now looking to dominate the bowlers as he struck five 6s, Monahan-Fairlie was more cultured and settled for running ones and twos using his superior fitness levels to push the fielders. Both players continued steadily and took their totals to within touching distance of maiden centuries for the club before Ewart departed for 97, caught at deep mid-wicket off Duncan Hewitt. This dismissal only served to bring even more pain to Dereham as Will Dunger stride purposefully to the crease. At his belligerent best, he smashed a 24 ball 44 which included  5 sixes. He finally departed with just 2 balls remaining and Monahan-Fairlie 99 not out. Not to be denied, Monahan-Fairlie secured the single needed to bring up his maiden Alliance hundred and Fakenham ended 268-2, their best batting performance in a while.

This score was always going to prove a tall order for the league’s bottom side, but Ryan Fitt, in between swatting flies with his bat, connected with some lusty blows and moved the score along to 40-1 off 8 before he departed. Batsmen then came and went at regular intervals with only Duncan Hewitt (61) and Jonny Bidewell (46) offering enough resistance and intent to get Dereham believing the impossible was possible. Once Toby Hood and Coyle accounted for the pair it was left to the pair to finish the innings off and restrict Dereham to 212-9. Hood 2-30 and Coyle 5-35 were the most successful bowlers.

With North Runcton losing at Cromer, the win ensured that Fakenham once again took over the top spot in the table but with next week’s game at home being against Cromer they will certainly not trying to emulate Runcton.

The second team meanwhile had a good 109 win at home over Winterton in Division 4 with Olly Hall scoring a fine 116no out for his contribution to Fakenham’s 246-7.

Not to be outdone the third team also had a 62 run win over Denver to round off a highly successful couple of weeks for the club.

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On Sunday Fakenham were crowned champions of the first ever Sunday Smash 20/20 competition, sponsored by Jewson.

With Fakenham, Brooke, Dereham and a Norfolk Alliance Select XI in attendance, the standard would be high, and the quality of the games certainly did not disappoint the large crowd.

With a 10:30am start and the early morning sun blazing, Fakenham hosted Dereham in the first semi final.

Bowling first, Fakenham lacked discipline and fielded , enabling Dereham to post a good par159 from their 20 overs. Fakenham initially responded poorly, slumping to 9-3 and at the half way stage needed 80 off 10 overs with 5 wickets left. They finally got over the line with just 3 balls to spare in a thrilling finish with Harry Bammant (49), David Coyle (35) and Lloyd Marshall (25 not out) the main contributors.

Not to be outdone the second semi final also produced a nail biter of a finish as Brooke overcame the Alliance Select team’s total of 153. This time the chasing side required 12 runs off the final over, bowled by former Norfolk bowler Aaron Watson.

Having been hit for a six during the over Watson needed a final dot ball to secure a tie, Tom Nudd however had other ideas and despatched the ball into the sightscreens for a 6 to end a fantastic game.

After those 2 amazing semi finals the final was always in with a chance of being an anti-climax. The innings started with Fakenham batting and off to a positive flyer with John Ewart (30) and Keegan Monahan Fairlie (48) in particular, impressing. Fakenham unfortunately then imploded somewhat and only limped to a par 149.

Brooke looked to be set for victory at 70-0 of 10 overs before Coyle dismissed the dangerous Sam Clabburn (48).

Billy Buckingham then picked up three wickets with his spin and Toby Hood added another 2 wickets to turn the tide and finally secure a good 20 run victory and bring an end to a fantastic day and spectacle enjoyed by couple of 100 or so crowd.

Such was the enjoyment that the teams have already booked their entries for next year when the event will hopefully be even bigger and better than this years first running.