Youthful Premier Division champions Fakenham are just getting started

Fakenham are eyeing a golden era as they continue to tap into a conveyor belt of teenage talent.

The newly-crowned Dipple & Conway Opticians Norfolk Alliance Premier Division champions may have failed to end their five-year exile from the East Anglian Premier League on Sunday. But skipper Keegan Monahan-Fairlie insists the performances of his young stars during the promotion play-off semi-final defeat to Godmanchester Town proves the club are still moving in the right direction.

The 32-year-old said: “It’s only myself and Luke (Findlay) who are still here from when we last won the league in 2011.

“Ben Harvey was missing on Sunday and he only played for the second part of the year. In four years we’ve lost 12 to 14 players. There’s been an opportunity to bring the youngsters through and it has been a rebuilding phase, which is now starting to show.

“Hopefully everyone will stay and we’ll go again next year. As long as we can hold on to our young players and they don’t get poached by the ‘Norwich clubs’ we’ll be fine.”

Sixteen-year-old Tom Yarham’s defiant knock of 60 restored some pride for the hosts during their 50-run defeat to the Cambs & Hunts title-winners who will join the region’s elite if they beat Sudbury on Saturday.

While Monahan-Fairlie was gutted to lose his second EAPL semi, he knows the experience of being involved in the tie will stand the new generation in good stead.

“The future looks fantastic. The twos are basically our under-19s,” said the Aussie of the club’s second-string who retained their Division Two status this term.

“The first XI are that young I’m eight years older than the next person. We’ve had to rebuild since the last play-off. Tom’s knock was a major positive and also Harrison Futter stepped up. He’s only just turned 18 and he was getting going before he was unfortunately given run out.

“For these youngsters to step up for a game like this is so good. They can only learn from it.”

Report courtesy of Eastern Daily Press Cricket