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Richmondshire retain the championship
3:52pm Friday 27th September 2013 in Sport
WITH a majestic 15th win of the season, Richmondshire were crowned Premier Division champions for a second successive year, underlining their dominance as the allpowerful successors to Middlesbrough, who were last to win back-to-back titles.
They, like Middlesbrough in 2007 and 2008, retained the trophy in style and have now won it three times in 19 years.
But their latest success was achieved with extra splendour, having totted up a recordbreaking number of points, 436 compared with 428 when the previous highest was set in 1993.
The Dalesmen travelled to Stokesley needing five points to make certain they couldn’t be overtaken. They jumped this hurdle with the game just half-way complete and then again showed their batting power is just as impressive as their wicket-taking supremacy.
With Richmond’s last-day formalities completed – they won by an impressive ten wickets – the second of the two clubs to be promoted to play against them next season was being decided at venues as far apart as Bishop Auckland and Seaton Carew.
And it turned out to be a case of the unexpected as Seaton carried off the golden prize.
They’ll join Marske, promoted a week ago, and, on this final weekend, not only clinched the Division One championship but killed off Bishops’ chance of returning to the top division with them.
It was a close-run contest with the Seasiders winning as the result of a last-wicket stand between Josh Carroll and Sam Harvey.
Carroll (5-34 in nine overs) had already been his side’s bowling star as Bishop Auckland were dismissed for 123 with Carl McGregor (35) top scorer.
Marske looked like losing on 112-9 and Bishops were just about back in the Premier Division after a two-year absence until Carroll (12 not out) broke their hearts.
At the same time at Seaton Carew, players and fans were facing mixed emotions as the scores came from Kingsway.
But they didn’t lose concentration and overcame the challenge of Maltby, who were all out for 163.
Their five-star performer was home-grown junior Paul Braithwaite (80 not out), who rushed them to a six-wicket victory and a place in the league’s top division, where they can look forward to derby games with Hartlepool.
Seaton will now face the challenges of players like Gary Pratt (80 not out) and Shani Dissanayake (4-14 from 13 overs) who starred in Richmond’s final-day victory at Stokesley (110 all out), where Craig Marshall (3-33 from 15) took his seasonal wicket tally to 48 as Shani finished on 58.
Pratt’s 50-ball finale, with seven fours and three sixes, took him beyond 2,000 runs, including 1,589 in the league.
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