Durham Cricket League: Seaham Park rout Houghton to seal championship in style

Seaham Park celebrate winning the Second Division title, their first since 1964. Picture by Kevin Brady
Seaham Park celebrate winning the Second Division title, their first since 1964. Picture by Kevin Brady
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Seaham Park were able to win the Second Division championship on the field rather than off it as they demolished the bottom club by eight wickets in just 32 overs of play in all.

Both Park and Burnopfield had secured their promotion the week before, and Park knew that seven points from their last game at rock-bottom Houghton would earn them the silverware.

And the result emphasised the gulf in class between the top and bottom sides, Houghton crashing to a 22nd defeat in 24 matches after Siddharth Chitnis (6-26) and Michael Walker (3-13) had proved too hot to handle.

The hosts were whipped out for just 71, and, with rain threatening, Park didn’t waste too much time in rattling off the runs, winning by eight wickets with skipper Dave Hanson fittingly at the crease when the winning runs were scored.

And it proved a marvellous way for Seaham to celebrate their first championship success since 1964, with the final table seeing them smash through the 500 points barrier to finish some 48 points ahead of Burnopfield, who started the season as heavy favourites for the top honour given the signings of former Durham stars Gareth Breese and Callum Thorp.

Not a single ball was bowled in the remaining five Division Two matches.

The wait, and in some cases agony, goes on for Esh Winning, Mainsforth and South Hetton as the North East Premier League continue their deliberations over Esh Winning’s promotion into another week.

It had been promised that a decision would be made and conveyed to all clubs before the start of play on Saturday, but that was subsequently deferred following meetings with the champion club, with NEPL secretary Gordon Halliday explaining on Friday: “I said earlier this week that we hoped to make a decision on whether Esh Winning meet our criteria for entry into the NEPL before Saturday’s matches.

“However, in view of the significance of the decision we need to make, it looks like it will be early next week before we can get all the necessary information and the views of all the members of our management committee.”

If First Division champions Esh do eventually get the nod then they will replace South Hetton, who finished 59 points adrift at the foot of the NEPL First Division table, however, if their bid is turned down then South Hetton will host a play-off game against Mainsforth this coming Saturday, the match to be played under Banks Salver rules, and with a reserve date of Sunday in case of inclement weather.

It is understood that Mainsforth have been given the green flag in respect of their own facilities and ground.

Mainsforth secured the runners-up spot which entitles them to a play-off as not a single ball was bowled in Division One on Saturday, a washout that unfortunately also rubber-stamped Hylton’s relegation alongside Boldon CA.