After a 10-year wait Great Preston are champions of the Wetherby League again.
Victory by six wickets at Shadwell saw Stuart Ruddick’s men clinch the first division crown for the first time since 2003 and for the third time in their history – and in total they have now won 11 pieces of major silverware since moving from the Leeds League in 2000.
For their last game of the season Lee Russell stood in as skipper and he had no hesitation inserting the hosts on a damp wicket in a game he knew his side had to win if they were to edge out Kirk Deighton for the title.
Shadwell got off to a decent start, reaching 36 without loss in the ninth over. But Mark Mosby then dismissed both openers and dangerous overseas player Cody McGrath and Preston never looked back.
Ian Newton bowled superbly in the middle overs and Andy Clark returned to remove the tail as Shadwell slumped to 112 all out, leaving Preston 52 overs to reach their target.
Mosby ended with 3-24, Clark 4-38 and Russell 2-28. The other wicket to fall was a run out engineered by Chris Wormstone.
James Bickerdike got Preston’s reply off to an ideal start, smashing 41 off just 38 balls. They suffered a mid innings wobble, slumping to 56-3, but Wormstone ensured the visitors got over the line in the 20th over for the loss of just one more wicket.
Wormstone ended unbeaten on 48 as Preston closed on 113-4. Joe Burke took three wickets, but it was celebration time for the winners.
Delighted captain Ruddick said: “The celebrations went on long into the night. We were really pleased to send our overseas star Chris Ellison home with a championship winners’ medal.
“The turning point in the title race was the game against Old Modernians three weeks ago. They had us at 60-7 and we managed to turn it round and get 250 and then bowl them out. Kirk Deighton lost to Scarcroft the same day and we took over at the top.
“I had to work on Saturday and it was the first game I’ve missed this season. I got there about two hours into the match so I saw most of it in the end.
“We were fully aware Shadwell have some dangerous players and we thought if could get them out we’d be in with a really good chance.
“It was quite ironic that Saturday’s match was at the same ground where we lost to Wetherby in the Fred Fleetwood Cup final last month.
“It has been a tremendous team effort by all the players this season. Everyone has contributed.”
l Ledsham were also celebrating on Saturday after clinching the Division Three title and winning promotion to the second division for the first time in their history.
They won by nine wickets against Bilton in Ainsty after bowling them out for just 61 with Paul Dewhirst taking 6-7.