After three years in the 'wilderness' of Division B, the 1st's will once again be 'dining at the top table', thanks to an impressive end to the season.
After struggling to hang on for draws in the previous 2 games all came good in the final 3 matches.
Bionic Billy Sees Off Eastwood!
Eastwood visited GLA desperately needing points to stave off the threat of relegation. In a game reduced to 84 overs due to the weather, Eastwood won the toss and inserted the hosts, a decision which looked to be a good one an hour or so later. Calvo's top ordered spluttered again and at 48-5 the promotion push looked to be faltering badly. But Brins (fresh from his excellent knock at Clifton the previous week) constructed another patient innings this time with Billy Armstrrong, who also batted with incredible patience! The partnership had realised 68 valuable runs until Grimmo was stumped. Billy then received further support from James Cairney and Kevin Evans before the innings was brought to an end in the 42nd and final over for 191. Billy finishing on a very well made 61. Not a massive score but certainly a competitive one.
Still not quite sure what Ginger Bill had for his tea between the innings but whatever it was certainly helped! After just 6 overs the Eastwood innings was in tatters as G.B tore them to shreds, 12-4 became 24-5 with Billy taking 4 quick fire wickets aided by some excellent catches in the slips. Although Eastwood staged a minor recovery, two more wickets went down with the score on 63, a further one fell on 72 and Billy returned to take his fifth wicket as Eastwood were bowled out for 103 with nine overs of their innings still remaining. The only downside to the day was the end of Kev's season after a sniper in the woods shot him in the calf!!
MOM - Billy A, terrific all round performance.
20 points and the promotion push back on track.
Big Score Ensures Winning Draw
The top order picked a good time to come good as Long Eaton were put to the sword at GLA on a warm sunny day. Upon winning the toss, Ryan had no hesitation in batting first and the batsman all made hay in racking up a big score.Daz & Scott opened up and added 87 for the first wicket in good time. Despite Daz (44) and Scott (60) falling in quick succession, there was to be no collapse as all the batsmen made good contributions. Peeler with 31, Grimmo continued his good run of form with the bat with 49, as did Billy A with a rapid 49 off just 26 balls. Long Eaton must have been short of bowlers, as just three were used in the entire innings of 48 overs with the figures not making very pretty reading. 275-8 represented a good effort with the bat, would this be reflected with the ball?
Long Eaton's reply was steady and at 140-2 they were just about in with a shout. But as the required rate started to rise and the introduction of 'Daddy Bear Daz' into the attack, the game swung dramatically towards the home team. Four wickets from Daz saw the LE chase go off the rails and from 174-6 the task got too much. It was now a question of a win or winning draw for Calvo as LE shut up shop. Billy A returned to the attack and managed to prise out two more batsmen before the overs ran out with the score on 215-8.
MOM 'Daddy Bear' Good knock, vital wickets.
Another 18 points in the bank, one game to go and a positive result at Southwell would ensure promotion.
'Old Guard' Ensure Promotion!
So the final game of the season saw the team make the short trip to already relegated Southwell. Armed with the knowledge that a win or winning draw would definitely suffice, Ryan again decided to bat first.
Daz & Scott once again got the team off to a great start putting on 120 for the opening wicket before Daz fell for 51. Peeler and Scott added 70 more as runs were coming at a fair old lick. Peeler fell for 31 (again!) but Scotty continued on his merry way completing a fabulous century when it mattered. The score had reached 232 before Scott lost his wicket and a few lusty blows were added in the final few overs taking the total up to 266-8 from the allotted 48 overs.
Southwell's reply never got going. Kyle & Billy put on the stranglehold and the shackles were never broken, with Billy (two wickets) and Kyle (one), putting them way behind the required rate. When Daz entered the fray, the wickets tumbled. After 14 productive overs, Daz had bowled Southwell out! 7-53 with the last wicket taken in the final over, fittingly caught by the Captain.
MOM Scott & Daz. Set the foundations and finished it off!
So promotion was assured. Big congratulations to all involved, particularly to the Skipper who has endured a difficult season due to work availability. But after a season in the job has lead the team to promotion - well done Ryan, next stop 'The Prem'!!