Rivals Fakenham and Dereham are set for final-day title drama
- Credit: Matthew Usher
The area's two biggest clubs could both be celebrating on Saturday if they upset the odds and lift their respective championships.
Norfolk Alliance Premier Division Fakenham and third-tier Dereham have taken their league's title races to the final round of fixtures. But both sit second and will be relying upon slip-ups on what's sure to be a weekend of drama for those connected with the fierce rivals.
Top-flight Fakenham set up the thrilling finale after leaders Downham Town suffered a surprise defeat at the hands of lowly North Runcton on Saturday.
The West Norfolk outfit – record-breakers by winning the crown four years in a row up to 2010 – are now just six points ahead of their nearest challengers – who were 30 behind with five matches to go – after Fakenham picked up a winning draw at Cromer. However, it could have been even better for the visitors as had they have bowled out the seaside club they would have taken top slot going into the weekend.
Downham host basement boys and realistically, but not mathematically, relegated Lowestoft Town on Saturday while Fakenham, who last won the title in 2011, host second-from-bottom Runcton – themselves desperately needing a victory as they look to avoid the drop.
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In Division Two, Dereham have also hung on to the coat-tails of their own long-term rivals to set up a fascinating final match of the campaign. Great Witchingham prevailed at the weekend to take a nine-point advantage in to Saturday's clashes. But Dereham cruised home by nine wickets against Downham A to ensure their hopes of clinching some silverware, following relegation in 2013, remains alive.
Interestingly, Dereham play host to their neighbours and fierce rivals Fakenham A at the weekend while the Witches travel to Swardeston B. They sit third-from-bottom while Fakenham's second string are fourth.
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In other news, teenage duo Harrison Futter and Harry Bammant have batted their way into the record books at Fakenham.
The youngsters opened the batting during their Mid-Norfolk Sunday League clash with Swanton Morley and put together a huge partnership of 273.
Futter, 17, scored 125 and Bammant, 16, scored 114 as they dominated proceedings in a comfortable 214-run win which kept Fakenham top of RJ Bidewell Division Three.
Harrison's father, team captain Dean Futter, said: 'We retired them on a club record 267. We were going to retire them both when they reached their hundreds but we had a look in the club handbook and once we realised they were close to the club record we kept them out there.
'The two of them have scored the best part of 1,000 runs between them in that league this season.'
The pair were retired in the 32nd over, allowing 17-year-old Billy Yarham to join the party and add an unbeaten 45. Harrison's younger brother, 14-year-old Callum also added 19 as Fakenham finished on 345-1.
Swanton were then bowled out for 131 in 29 overs as Fakenham rounded off an excellent day.