Burnmoor handed title after official’s mistake

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BURNMOOR are the champions of the Durham Senior League after officials confirmed there had been a mistake made on Saturday morning when Castle Eden had incorrectly been given an additional three points.

With Burnmoor understandably shocked to learn of this only after they had completed a victory over Marsden, the cries of anguish that followed led to a wholesale re-checking of match results which then revealed that the original standings had, in fact, been correct all along and Burnmoor were therefore 32 points ahead of Castle Eden after Saturday’s matches, and therefore untouchable.

In this historic season, already scarred by the worst weather on record and the break up of the league itself, it was almost inevitable that things wouldn’t end quietly, and the rumpus over the points mix-up has provided one last dramatic twist in the tail.

But that shouldn’t detract from Burnmoor’s achievement in winning their sixth title in a 14-year period in which they have never finished outside the top four, and they will now be able to plan some lavish celebrations for Saturday night after their home game with Boldon is concluded – celebrations that will no doubt be quite emotive for more reasons than one. Both teams take their leave with full sides in the field.

Castle Eden’s match at Whitburn doesn’t have any bearing on the title any more, but there are still two notable factors linked to the game. Firstly, if they avoid defeat Castle will go through the whole season without losing a league game, a remarkable achievement for the villagers. And secondly the game marks the final appearance of Whitburn skipper David Bell, a great club servant who has skippered the side for the last nine years during which period they have never finished outside the top five.

And so the end of an extraordinary season comes with the very final chapter to be written into the history of the iconic Durham Senior League when the last games are played before the clubs head off to pastures new.

Once regarded as one of the leading cricket leagues in the UK, the famous old competition is to be formally wound up at the end of the season, and there will no doubt be a few tears shed around the many clubs who have been linked to it throughout its 110 year existence.

DSCL chairman Ian Linsley, whose own club Burnmoor were a founder member, is one among many who are desperately sad to see it go.

“As stumps are drawn on Saturday it will signal the end of a league formed in 1902, and it will be a very sad day for all those people who have been associated with one of the greatest leagues in North-East cricket,” he said.

“The decision more than a decade ago by the ECB to start a Premier League system throughout the UK had a profound affect on the DSCL following the formation of the NEPL, something from which we never really recovered.

“But at least the halcyon days of the league will still be remembered as the Durham Cricket Board, in conjunction with the County, have agreed to provide a cabinet at the Riverside where all our trophies will be displayed as a permanent reminder of the wonderful history of our league.”

And Ian took the opportunity to pass on his good wishes to all associated with the league throughout its lifetime: ‘I would like to wish every club that has had the privilege of being a member of the DSCL over the last 110 years every success in the future.’

After the horrendous summer it is to be hoped that this weekend’s curtain call is blessed by fine weather, and that when the sun finally sets on Saturday night the abiding memory for most will be of great players in great teams playing in a great league.

H There are two local finals for supporters to savour on Sunday with Boldon hosting the Tom Burn Cup Final when they entertain Swalwell in a 1.30pm start, while just up the road at Whitburn it’s the final of the Hedworth Williamson Cup in which South Shields take on Tudhoe, again in a 1.30 start.