1stXI start title defence with a win
Despite the cold conditions and frequent rain showers, both sides were keen to play and Diss soon had Fakenham in trouble, loosing 5 quick wickets. Will Dunger (65) and Billy Buckingham (47) helped to steady the ship and along with a quick fire 16 from Lloyd Marshall helped Fakenham to 181 from their 40 overs.
In reply, Diss started poorly as Luke Caswell ripped through the top 3. Diss stalwart Robert Tooke (39) and overseas Jebb Swallow (64) looked to be taking Diss to victory, but after a short rain interval Caswell ran out Tooke before Dunger and Coyle ripped through the lower middle order with 6 wickets shared between them.
2ndXI open campaign with home victory
It was excellent to see the 2ndXI welcome two debutants and many returning players for their opening league fixture of 2019, and despite the poor weather both sides agreed a reduced match of 25 overs per side. It was a welcome return to action for Toby Hood, the seamer picking up the wicket of the dangerous Hethersett & Tas Valley opener Damian Fahy, before debutant Olly Hall got in on the act with a wicket of his own. It was however 2016 2ndXI player of the season Oscar Campbell who did most of the damage; returning figures of 3-16 from his 5 over spell. The final two wickets were shared between Father and Son duo, Shaun and Shane Fisher, who both returned to Fakenham colours with a wicket apiece as Hethersett & Tas Valley closed on 113-8 from their 25.
The 2ndXI’s response was led by Harrison Futter who notched up a brisk 73 not out as Fakenham made light work of the run chase, winning by 8 wickets.
Youth progress at the heart of the 3rdXI
Our aim to re-establish a 3rdXI is to ensure our young cricketers have a suitable pathway into senior cricket. This weekend, we were delighted to see many of younger players getting their first taste of competitive league cricket, with 6 of the side all from the youth section. Despite the result being a comprehensive victory for Bircham 2ndXI there will be many happy memories remembered. For three families there was a first time as father and son played in a competitive fixture together (congratulations to the Rowleys, Holts, and Lawes families) and an equally proud moment for James Page, as he watched his son Charlie take a wicket in his first over in senior cricket.
Sunday League underway
Similarly to the Saturday 3rdXI our Sunday XI will be looking to offer our juniors with opportunities to play in senior cricket this summer. Against a strong Swaffham side, Fakenham posted 184, with a highlight of the innings being Under-15 Finn Lowe’s 31 supported by senior players Richard Ewart (34), Will Dunger (38) and Billy Buckingham (44). It proved to be about 20 runs too light, as Swaffham got over the line 8 wickets down and with 1.2 overs left, with young Archie Bradnock bowling a tight spell of 0-22 from his 8 overs.