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Diss join calls to curb overseas players

PUBLISHED: 15:45 09 July 2010 | UPDATED: 20:24 01 August 2010

As they prepare to face South African run machine Mpho Sekhoto tomorrow, Diss have joined calls for action to be taken over the dominance of overseas players in the Norfolk Alliance.

As they prepare to face South African run machine Mpho Sekhoto tomorrow, Diss have joined calls for action to be taken over the dominance of overseas players in the Norfolk Alliance.

Sekhoto, who plays first class cricket for Easterns in his home country, has been in prolific form for Lowestoft, firing four successive centuries in the Norfolk Alliance Premier Division, the latest of which came in last Saturday's defeat to champions Downham.

Tomorrow Sekhoto's side host the only team in the division not have an overseas star - and Diss skipper Simon Cooper has backed a proposed review of the influence currently being exerted by foreign players.

The Norfolk Cricket Board said last week it will review its stance on overseas players at a board meeting later this month, while the Alliance have indicated they will be guided by the wishes of member clubs.

Cooper said: “Obviously I'm well aware there are legal implications, but if the league were able to find a way to ban overseas players then I would support it and I think it would be far better for local cricket, as younger players would be handed more responsibility.

“It seems to be the case that they are dominating more than ever, you only have to look at the paper on a Monday. The way I look at it is what are the other 10 players getting out of watching the overseas player bat every week?

“We did potentially have some funding to bring in an overseas player this year, but we decided to stick with what has worked for us in the past and give the younger players a chance. Instead we've spent the money on improving our facilities, like sightscreens and nets, things that will benefit us in the long term not just for this season.”

Last week's victory over Acle moved Diss up to third and Cooper said he was proud that the club's reliance on home-grown talent was paying off: “Nine of the 11 players in our first team have come through the youth system, the other two are from the local area and the oldest player in our side is 27,” he said.

As Diss face the challenge of stopping Sekhoto from making it five league centuries in a row, Cooper admitted there were no special plans in place for the South African: “We've just got to hope,” he said. “Our first game against them was rained off so we haven't seen him yet, but he's obviously a class player. We've just got to hope that he's going to fail eventually - the law of averages says he will and we hope it's this week.”

In the East Anglian Premier League tomorrow, Swardeston are looking to close the gap on the top two by piling on the misery for struggling Norwich.

Swardeston's victory against Great Witchingham last week moved them up to third, 14 points behind leaders Saffron Walden, while Norwich's grim rearguard action to gain a draw at Fakenham at least ensured they stayed off the bottom of the table.

Fakenham stunned Swardeston on Sunday by beating them in the Carter Cup semi-finals, but they can do their Norfolk colleagues a favour tomorrow if they gain a positive result at Walden.

James Spelman takes his Witchingham side to his old club, Vauxhall Mallards, while Horsford - who held Walden to a draw last week - are at Bury St Edmunds.


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