THERE were contrasting emotions in the town of Boldon as the Durham Senior League side relinquished their grip on the title on the final day, while neighbours CA reclaimed their Durham Coast League crown.
It was always going to be a tall last-day order for Boldon to overhaul a vibrant Kimblesworth side in the Senior League race, and with Horden proving stubborn opponents it was the newcomers who were able to raise the championship pennant over their clubhouse on Saturday night after hammering Durham City.
Boldon had to go for maximum points and then hope Kimblesworth would slip up, and they gave it a real go by rattling up 210-6 in 44 overs against Horden on the back of a rapid 72 from Matthew Sampson-Barnes.
But West Indian Adelvin Phillip was proving a tough opponent, he followed up his three wickets with an unbeaten 61 before the game ended with Horden on 155-6 after 38 overs.
Durham City’s primary aim at Kimblesworth was to try and pick up enough points to avoid the wooden spoon, but it was not to be as the home team recorded an emphatic win to lift the title at the very first attempt.
Australian Jake McCann gave City some hope with a half-century, but Kevin Dixon came on third change to end his, and Durham’s, resistance with a 10-over spell of 5-32, leaving Kimblesworth needing 188 to make history.
They did it in style as Stephen Meek reached his century at the same time as hitting the winning runs.
Meek (103no) enjoyed a second-wicket partnership of 163 with Chris Burke (60) as Kimblesworth raced to glory in just 26 overs.
There were two centurions in one of the day’s other games, Burnmoor’s Barry Dews bringing up his ton in the final over as his team made 242-9, and Whitburn’s Neil Ayre hitting nine fours and eight sixes in an unbeaten 118 that looked certain to secure victory for his team – until the rain arrived with 10 overs left to play.
Seaham Park travelled to Peterlee knowing that victory would secure their first ever Durham Coast League title, but when their game ended with their hosts on 66-5 chasing 159-8 it left them with just 10 points.
By that time, reigning champions Boldon CA had already scraped together a three-wicket home win over Easington, and the 20 points they earned meant they drew level with the Park, causing a scramble among league officials to decide who the champions were.
It was the eventual consensus that, as both teams had won the same number of matches, the title was Boldon’s as they had lost one fewer game than the Park – with the caveat that the final match returns of both clubs would have to be checked to confirm this.
A nervous Park performance at Peterlee had seen them edge towards the points tally they needed, Andrew Docherty hitting 57 as Seaham put on 159-8 in 49.2 overs.
Peterlee put up stubborn 33-over resistance to close on 66-5, the gut-wrenching fact for Park being that one more wicket would have been enough.
It was first-class Male who delivered the title for Boldon. Easington were doing all right until Ian Male arrived on the scene – in only 7.1 overs he took out six visiting batters at a cost of just 10 runs, leaving CA needing 101 for victory.
Jordan Wilson (4-40) and Ben Scott (3-20) then made Boldon fight for the win – but it proved to be well worth it.