Survival day for Acle cricketers
It is 'Survival Saturday' in the Norfolk Alliance Premier Division - and Acle skipper Shaun Roberts is backing his side to beat the drop.With the destination of the title long since decided, the focus is on who will go down with Old Buckenham, with five clubs in the relegation mix.
It is 'Survival Saturday' in the Norfolk Alliance Premier Division - and Acle skipper Shaun Roberts is backing his side to beat the drop.
With the destination of the title long since decided, the focus is on who will go down with Old Buckenham, with five clubs in the relegation mix.
Acle are currently 18 points adrift and their final day task could not be tougher as they host champions Downham, writes Philip Banyard.
Roberts, however, has been buoyed by Acle's recent revival - and the shock result last weekend when Buckenham inflicted Downham's first defeat since August 2008: “It is a big ask, but there's every chance we can still do it,” he said. “Old Buckenham's result has lifted confidence - if they can do it, there's no reason why we can't.
“Of course we are still relying on other results and the weather is also going to be factor - if it's a wet track we might struggle to get full
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“But we just have to make sure we keep the pedal to the floor and keep driving forwards, because if we have any doubts, we will come up short.”
This year's struggles have been in stark contrast to last season, when Acle finished as runners-up to Downham. Roberts added: “We're only one or two players short of the team we had last year when we finished second, which was a great achievement.
“We started off well in the first game this year but we just went completely off the boil and we've let ourselves down, we haven't played anywhere near as well as we can do.
“It's only in the last couple of weeks that we've shown what we should have been showing all year.”
Acle are however no strangers to great escape acts - in 2007 they dragged themselves away from the drop zone after spending most of the season looking like relegation certainties.
“We did it three years ago from a worse situation so that is something we have to fall back on,” said Roberts. “I wasn't at the club then, but all the players still talk about it and that gives us some added confidence.”
Of the other relegation candidates, Cromer and Brooke need eight points be sure of survival from their games at North Runcton and Lowestoft respectively. Diss require six from their trip to relegated Buckenham, while Norwich & Coltishall Wanderers need just two at Vauxhall Mallards A.
It is a scenario which will have phone lines buzzing tomorrow as the strugglers try to keep tabs on each others' progress.
Roberts added: “If we are batting second and going for a win I'll have the phone in my hand - I know a few of the Cromer and Brooke boys so I'm sure there'll be a few calls.
“But first and foremost we have got to make sure we get 25 points, or at least the lion's share of the points, because if we don't we haven't got a chance anyway.”