Newton Aycliffe’s cricket team earned an historic promotion in their debut NYSD League campaign at the weekend.
The club’s first XI actually lost their final game at home to Bishop Auckland’s second team – but finished second in the NYSD League third division to win promotion.
The day started well with captain Chris Palmer winning the toss and asking the visitors to bat first.
Bishops were bowled out for a decent total of 171, despite some outstanding bowling from left arm spinner Luke Telford, who finished his marathon 15.1 over spell with seven wickets for 36 runs and earned the man of the match award.
In reply Luke Telford (25 runs) and Chris Palmer (26 runs) had Aycliffe well set with the score at 66 for 1 and only 106 runs needed for victory and the title with 37 overs remaining.
Aycliffe then dramatically collapsed, losing their next eight wickets for just 23 runs to leave the score at 89 for 9.
Last wicket pair Tony Travis (pictured above) and Joe Haines were now batting under the utmost pressure as Aycliffe needed to reach 100 runs to earn the bonus point that would take them to promotion.
The pair battled there way through 10 heart-stopping overs and then veteran Travis smashed a huge straight six to take the total to 103 as the ground erupted in jubilation. Shabbash.
Travis was out shortly afterwards for the most important 11 runs he has ever scored and his batting partner Haines, who was celebrating his 19th birthday, remained unbeaten with two valuable runs as the celebrations began and went on to well into the night.
The final league table showed Saltburn as champions with 371 points, Aycliffe and Bedale, both with finished with 360 points, but Aycliffe earned the runners-up spot by virtue of winning 16 games, three more than rivals Bedale.
Aycliffe’s second team lost at home to Stokesley’s third XI at Aycliffe Sports Club on Sunday.
Stokesley were 162 all out with Joe Hodgson 4taking for 28 and Danny Weldon 3 for 54.
But Aycliffe managed just 58 in reply and lost by 104 runs.
Aycliffe chairman Ian Palmer captained the second team in what was his last game before retiring, and was given a guard of honour and generous applause from the players of both teams after his short innings.