Clacton avoid relegation on final day

CLACTON avoided relegation on the final day of the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League season with a comfortable victory over rock-bottom Fakenham.

CLACTON avoided relegation on the final day of the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League season with a comfortable victory over rock-bottom Fakenham.

The Essex side had languished at the foot of the table for lengthy periods of the 2007 season, but an end-of-season purple patch, which included wins over champions Swardeston as well as Bury St Edmunds, meant Clacton only had to avoid a comprehensive defeat at Fakenham.

Martin Smith's young side not only avoided defeat, they dispatched the Norfolk side by 100 runs.

Maroof Khan hit 62 as the coastal outfit set a target of 175 for the loss of eight wickets, before three wickets apiece for Smith and Gary Kirk helped bowl the hosts out for 75.


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The result meant that Clacton finished the season one off the bottom in ninth place with 193 points, a poor return compared with the 2006 season in which they finished third with 254 points.

This year has also seen a spectacular fall from grace for reigning champions Bury St Edmunds.

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The Suffolk side, who had also won the league in 2005, unsurprisingly started the season as one of the favourites yet again, however, a dreadful end-of-season run of results has seen them finish sixth.

Having started the season with five wins, a draw and a cancellation, Bury had taken up a seemingly inevitable place at the top of the table.

However, Justin Bishop's side then went the rest of the season without a victory, losing three games, drawing five and seeing three cancelled.

Their final match of the season against Great Witchingham was cancelled last weekend, the result meaning they finished on 228 points - over 100 points less than they accumulated last year.

Elsewhere, founder members of the league Swardeston wrapped up their first-ever title with a thrashing of Norwich.

Three wickets each for Michael Eccles and Mark Thomas saw Norwich all out for just 60, a target which the champions knocked off for the loss of four wickets.

Godmanchester finished second in the table following a six-wicket win over eighth-placed Cambridge Granta, while Horsford finished seventh following a good 41-run win over third-placed Vauxhall Mallards.

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