Monkseaton CC 1st XI clinched promotion in the Northumberland and Tyneside Cricket League with a thrilling three-wicket victory over Kirkley on Saturday.
Mark Tunstall’s side went into the game against the hitherto unbeaten champions knowing 10 points from the fixture would be enough to secure the runners-up spot in Division Six (North).
But they were able to end the season on a high and inflict a first league defeat of the summer on Kirkley as they chased down their victory target with an over to spare.
Not for the first time this season, Monkseaton were indebted to vice-captain Ben Windass, who rounded off an outstanding campaign with the bat by hitting a match-winning 78 in the run chase as Kirkley’s score was overhauled with an over to spare, giving them 27 points from the match.
Skipper Tunstall’s decision to bowl first after winning the toss was vindicated as John Hewett (2-17) and Ian McDine (2-33) chipped away at a strong Kirkley batting line-up.
A late order acceleration, which included an unbeaten 57 from Chris Farrelly and 33 from skipper Andrew Horner, saw Kirkley post a challenging 151-6 at the end of their 40 overs. James Gowar took two smart catches to take his tally for the season to an impressive ten.
In reply, Windass was the mainstay of the Monkseaton innings, stroking seven boundaries in his innings of 78. After useful cameos from Kevin Elliott and Tony Lion, Windass was finally dismissed with the victory target tantalisingly close but the hosts held their nerve.
Windass finished the season with 556 runs at an average of 50.55 and can look back on the summer with great satisfaction. Hewett and McDine took 29 and 24 wickets respectively across the campaign, topping the bowling charts but enjoying great support from their colleagues along the way.
After suffering a heavy defeat at Alnmouth & Lesbury in early August, skipper Tunstall will have been delighted with how his side responded to that setback; finishing the season strongly by winning their final five games to deservedly take second spot in the division behind Kirkley.
* There was last-day disappointment for the 2nd XI who were soundly beaten at Kirkley.
Despite skipper Tony Errington taking 4-43, a knock of 75 by his opposite number Dave Alexander saw the hosts reach 158-9 after their 40 overs.
In reply, Monkseaton never got going with the bat. Only Eric Thompson (16) was able to reach double figures as they slumped to 34 all out in 22 overs.