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Greens hold cards in title race

PUBLISHED: 10:30 23 February 2017 | UPDATED: 10:30 23 February 2017

Gorleston have only lost two league games all season. Photo: David Hardy.

Gorleston have only lost two league games all season. Photo: David Hardy.

Archant

The ball is firmly in Gorleston’s court as they continue their quest for a first Eastern Counties League crown since 1980.

The Greens came close in 2013 and 2014 only to fall short, but are now in a position to end a long wait for the Premier Division crown.

Ricci Butler and his team continued to go about their business while Mildenhall set off on a one-horse race for the title.

The Greens never allowed the pressure of the chase get to them – they have still lost just twice this season – but in recent weeks have seen light at the end of the tunnel, with Mildenhall dropping points.

Mildenhall remain top but, crucially, fourth-placed Gorleston are 10 points behind with five games in hand.

The two teams sandwich Felixstowe & Walton United and third-placed Newmarket Town, but Gorleston again have a huge games-in-hand advantage.

The key for Butler and Co is to carry on winning – and Gorleston face another busy period with seven games in the space of 22 days, beginning with three matches in six days this coming week.

That spell starts on Saturday with a trip to Ely City. Although just five points off the bottom three, Ely are in decent form. Having gone one round better in the FA Vase than the Greens, since they were knocked out of that competition they have gained seven points from 12, including a draw at Long Melford last week.

On Tuesday Gorleston are in action at Emerald Park in the League Cup semi final against Newmarket Town (7.45pm) when they have a chance to avenge the 8-2 defeat of six weeks ago.

Finally, Friday night football comes to Emerald Park when Kirkley & Pakefield visit on March 3 (7.45pm).

Along the coast Wellesley, sixth-placed Great Yarmouth Town are also going great guns – they travel to Haverhill Rovers this weekend, having beaten Brantham Athletic 2-1 last weekend.

Joint-Manager Martin Sinclair said: “We have had to work hard again against very good opponents, but we are now showing some real character to pick up back-to-back wins against two very good sides.

“We are well-placed but have a few tough games between now and the end of season and if we continue to improve we should finish strongly.”

Other Great Yarmouth sport

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There was more good news for Norfolk bowls fans, when, following the success of Wayne Willgress in the open singles, his fiancee Bex Field helped Arbroath’s Darren Burnett send the defending champions Claire Johnston and Nick Brett crashing out of the quarter-finals of the mixed pairs.

Great Yarmouth Town maintained their unbeaten streak after having to dig deep into the squad with only 12 first team regulars available.

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There will be an all Panthers final in the Norfolk & Suffolk Youth League’s under 14 cup competition.

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