Rollesby are league champions

Long-serving Rollesby CC have crowned the Norfolk League’s milestone 40th anniversary season by winning the top flight title for the first time ever.

The vagaries of the August weather meant that Rollesby – the Norfolk League’s current longest-serving team – only played one game in the final month. But points accrued earlier during a season which saw them win 11 games out of 13 played, left them sitting pretty.

Delighted vice-captain Robert Sparkes is nevertheless determined to savour the success, despite the frustrating lack of action in the final weeks.

He admitted: “It has not really sunk in yet. We only played one game in four weeks in August. There was a slight feeling of anti-climax because we were looking forward to playing but due to the amount of rain that has fallen it has not been possible.”

A flying start to the campaign set Rollesby on their way, although a surprise defeat by Yarmouth in the only game they played during August opened the door for second-placed Old Catton to steal the crown on Saturday if they could beat relegated Hales and Loddon and Rollesby lost to East Harling. But the weather had the final say on a day when only three games were completed in the league.

But the work Rollesby did earlier paid dividends. “We had a great start when we won our first seven games and since then we have always been the ones being chased,” said Sparkes.

He added: “It’s been down to consistency of performances throughout. We have only used about 15 players this season.”

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Rollesby’s top three batsmen have scored over 1,000 runs between them and three bowlers have weighed in with 75 wickets.

Skipper Matt Duxbury led the batting with 423 runs (av 47) supported by new recruit Daniel Baker (301, av 38) and wicket-keeper Alex Chaney (376 av 34).

Paceman Chris Alger bagged 29 wickets with opening partner Dave Cook taking 22 and spinner Nick Flett contributing 24.

Despite their title success Rollesby, who won Norfolk League Division Two in 1994, won’t be stepping up to the Norfolk Alliance.

“It means a lot to us to win the title because we are a small club essentially. Due to our facilities we have not got the aim just yet to move up to the Alliance. We have a few things we need to sort out at the ground before we can think about moving up but maybe in a few more years.”

Formed in 1930, Rollesby joined the league soon after its formation in the early 1970s. In the last 10 seasons, they have been runners-up in Division Three (once) and Division Two three times (2003, 04, 07).