Fakenham Cricket Club aim for promotion

Fakenham Cricket Club's aim for the coming season is promotion back to the East Anglian Premier League, writes John Cushion.

Club chairman Martin Turner, ahead of tomorrow (Friday) night's meeting of players and supporters at the Highfield Lawn clubhouse, 7.30pm, said: 'We want to regain our status in the top tier. I don't think it will be easy, but it is what everyone at the club wants.'

Fakenham dropped into the Norfolk Alliance Premier Division and Turner warned that, if the first team got into a position to return to the East Anglian Premier League, it might face two play-off games with other teams that want to go up from other leagues.

The club's overseas player is expected to be South African Rudi Hillerman, an opening bowler and middle-order batsman in his mid-twenties.

He has played in the second tier of South African leagues and in the Derbyshire League, as did former countryman Michael Smith who had a spell at Highfield Lawn.

'By the time of Friday's meeting I hope all the papers will be signed and sealed,' said Turner. 'He's a good coach and good with youngsters.'

Australian Keegan de Ridder will be able to continue playing at any level for Fakenham following his being granted UK status.

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Players who have finished at university will be available all season, including opening bat James Brown. And former skipper Sean Cooper is expected to be back from RAF duties in Afghanistan for the start of the season.

Fast bowler Angus Stuart has returned to Downham.

Plans for expanding Highfield Lawn with a second square and expanded changing room and pavilion facilitles, a four to five-year plan priced at up to �400,000, are progressing.

'It is as big a project as moving from Barons Hall Lawn to Highfield Lawn,' said Turner.

Next season the club will field ladies' and U13 girls' teams in league cricket.

And players have shown good form in the Norfolk Indoor League, in a young side captained by Will Dunger.

'It was good to see that what had been done in the previous season has paid off. We were by far the sharpest team.

'Players put into practice everything they had been taught,' said Turner.

'We are looking in good shape, we feel we are ready to go.'