NE Premier League: Captain Coxon salutes champions Chester-le-Street
With the weather decimating nearly Saturday's entire programme, Chester-le-Street were crowned Premier Division champions.
Their recent run of form, winning eight of their last 10 Premier Division matches, with the other two abandoned, has been the catalyst for them this season.
They did make a start at Ropery Lane at the weekend, despite the gloomy forecast, with the Cestrians winning the toss and asking Durham Academy to bat first.
The youngsters were 34-0 when the rains came.
Skipper John Coxon commented: “The lads have thoroughly deserved it for their consistent performances over the second half of the season.
“It’s great to win the league this year, given the strength of Newcastle, South North and Tynemouth.”
Eppleton, in their quest to try to avoid relegation, also made a start at home to Whitburn.
The home side won the toss and decided to field, with the visitors on 42-1 off nine overs, when the weather intervened.
Points in the bag mean a lot at this stage of the season and Eppleton need eight more – away to South Northumberland – to guarantee their safety on the final day of the campaign, while perennial escapologists Gateshead Fell will have to beat Hetton Lyons at Lilywhite Terrace on Saturday. If they don’t, they will be relegated.
Lyons, though, will be working very hard to win the game against Fell to try to finish in fifth position. They have had another good season and have been difficult to beat, only losing five games this season so far, in their 21 matches.
They are just eight points behind fifth-top South Shields, who travel to Benwell Hill for their last game of the season.
The Hill will be disappointed with their lowly position this year after finishing fifth last term, so they will be looking to finish on a high when the two teams meet at Wood Terrace.
Durham Academy have been solid again this season and they have enjoyed a good season. They could also finish as high as fifth, and look favourites to win their final match against Stockton, who have fallen away alarmingly in the last six weeks.
Whitburn, in fifth-bottom spot, are in exactly the same position as last season and only six points worse off, so it is likely they will overhaul last season’s point tally of 257.
They have been difficult to beat, having lost only six times this season. They finish up at home to Tynemouth, who have improved this year and will be trying to finish as runner-up, but more likely in third, a good season for them.
Newcastle have one game left to try to finish as runners-up and will play champions Chester-le-Street at Osborne Avenue.
The battle of first v second promises to be a thrilling way to end the campaign.
Recently, Newcastle have fallen away from their title challenge, allowing Chester-le-Street the chance to overtake them and stretch their lead on their winning run.
With only one win in their last seven games, skipper Jacques Do Toit feels the reason is down to “not doing the basics right consistently.”