BRILLIANT Burnmoor turned in the almost perfect display to topple Tudhoe and become the first ever champions of the Readers Durham Cricket League.
The success made it their seventh title in 15 years, and, while the others all came in the prestigious Durham Senior League, this one was something special as it represented conquering the unknown and having the club’s name etched into the history books and on to a trophy where it will remain forever as the first to be inscribed.
The Moor went into the final showdown needing 10 points to clinch it, but with Tudhoe representing the most formidable of hurdles, with a run of just one defeat in their previous 22 matches behind them, nothing was being taken for granted.
And the heavy rainfall of the previous day added an additional element of uncertainty to proceedings, with the normally free flowing home batting line-up struggling to make headway against a Moor attack in which Brandon Scullard (3-38 from 12 overs) and Gary Brown (3-28 from 11 overs) stood out.
A target of 176-8 looked to be challenging but, after some surprisingly indifferent form at times in this campaign, Jimmy Daley was back to his very best, oozing class in a fully focused display of the batting art that rushed Moor to their moment of glory, the winning runs coming up in just 37 overs with eight wickets still in the bag.
David Lowther (41) and Paul Davidson (30 not out) were willing accomplices, but it was the Daley dose of two sixes and 11 fours in an unbeaten 93 that proved to be just the right medicine.
With Moor the merrier, Esh Winning had to finally give up the chase, although they kept going right until the end with a 39-run win over Durham City.
Stuart Hall’s 79 from 93 balls was the catalyst in an Esh total of 234-8 in 45 overs, and despite a half-century from England women’s international Danni Hazell, City fell for 195, their last wicket going down with one ball of the season left.
That defeat confirmed that Durham will start next year in the second tier, but there was also heartbreak for Dawdon, who fell through the top-14 trapdoor on the very last day when losing by 81 runs to Castle Eden.
Castle Eden batted through their 50 overs to record a score of 203-8, Keith Bailey their inspiration with 10 fours and three sixes in an unbeaten 84.
Needing to win, Dawdon found the bowling talents of Richard Ede (6-47) and Kamran Shah (3-19) too much of a hurdle and slid to 122 all out in 35 overs.
That result meant Mainsforth were able to make the last-day leap into next year’s top flight as they had earlier dismissed the challenge of a depleted Murton in a game lasting just 42.3 overs.
Overseas professional Adeel Malik had too much ability for the visitors, sweeping through them in a 12-over spell which produced figures of eight for 37. Set just 86 to win, the home team burst through the top 14 glass ceiling inside 16 overs.
Hylton secured their berth in the top flight with a convincing eight-wicket home victory over Marsden, with experience the key to their success as Owen Williamson (4-32) and Alan Mustard (3-33) pinned the visitors down to 154-9, before Mustard added the top dressing with an immaculate unbeaten 89.
Crook Town, who started the season in dismal form, completed their remarkable second-half transformation with an eighth consecutive win to cement their place at next season’s top table.
But they should not really have won the game at Ryhope as they went into the final over needing 20 to win, and when the last ball arrived they still needed nine.
But then a no-ball was despatched for six by Andy Burgess, which amazingly reduced the target to two, and these were secured from the very last ball of the season, this a particularly bitter blow for Mickey Thorpe, who had earlier hit nine fours and two sixes in an impressive 82 that took his team up to a challenging 225-8.
With little at stake in the other matches the chance was there for some to improve their averages, and Lee Innes was pretty successful at that as he grabbed six Whiteleas wickets for just 19 runs to set up a six-wicket Philadelphia win.
Another man taking half a dozen wickets was John Willetts. His 8.3-over burst of 6-19 helped bowl Silksworth out for 82, which was just as well as his own team, Peterlee, had mustered just 85 themselves.
Elsewhere, there were wins for Seaham Park, who had 12 runs to spare against = Langley Park, while Easington just edged out Ushaw Moor by 24 runs as skipper Dane Wilson (33 and 3-29) headlined.