Coastal derby should be one to savour
The players and supporters of Sheringham and Cromer are gearing themselves up for a derby showdown to savour in the Premier Division of the Anglian Combination on Saturday afternoon.
With the Shannocks aiming for a third successive victory and the Crabs eyeing a third successive league title the stage is set perfectly for an intriguing encounter at Sheringham Recreation Ground (2.30pm).
The hosts would have been rank outsiders a few months ago, but since the return of John Kowalyk as manager they have gradually become a competitive outfit and will be looking to show they are once again a force to be reckoned with when they take on their closest rivals.
With a number of new players on board the Shannocks hammered fellow strugglers North Walsham 5-1 before Christmas and followed that fine result up on Saturday when they won 1-0 at bottom side Hempnall, with Ben Furlong scoring the all-important goal in the first half.
As a result Kowalyk's team are three points clear of the bottom two, and just as importantly now have St Andrews and Loddon in their sights above them with games in hand.
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When the weather has allowed Cromer have been focusing on cup challenges in recent weeks and have played just one league fixture since the middle of November, a 2-2 draw at Spixworth. As a result they have slipped down to fifth in the Premier Division, six points behind current leaders Blofield, but the Crabs have at least two games in hand on all the teams above them and will be looking to get their title hat-trick bid moving again in the coastal derby.
Coach Cedric Anselin feels Cromer are still well placed to lift the Sterry Cup for the third year running even though he accepts difficult challenges lie ahead.
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'It's always tough when you've won the league back-to-back,' he said. 'The clubs in the league are getting stronger and it makes it very difficult.
'We have played 11 games and we've got two games in hand on Blofield and everything is playable – why not to do a third year?'
There is also a big match at Greens Road on Saturday, with North Walsham playing host to fifth from bottom St Andrews. Buoyed by a home victory over Hempnall before the festive break, the Angels gave a good account of themselves in their return to action on Saturday, giving hosts Dersingham a good game before being edged out 2-1. Charlie Skipper scored their goal, with Lee Hyde and Chris Maslin netting for the West Norfolk outfit.
Walsham will be aiming to put that defeat behind them on Saturday and know a win would leave them just four points behind the Saints with two games in hand.
In Division One Aylsham made it back-to-back victories when they won 2-1 at Watton thanks to goals from Travis Whitlam and Mark Gaskin. Next up is a home match with lowly Wells Town on Saturday. Holt have a tough looking home fixture against league leaders Norwich CEYMS to look forward to.