PROMOTION prompts elation.
For Seaton Carew Cricket Club, who will be making their debut in the NYSD Premier League next season, it also elicited shock.
Surprise that the feat was achieved years before they realistically hoped they could elevated themselves to the region’s highest standings.
It wasn’t that they doubted their players – all of whom have all progressed from the club’s junior ranks – it was just that they viewed themselves beneath Division One’s leading teams.
They really shouldn’t have though.
The statistics – 17 wins out of 26 is the standout stat – are a definite indication of why they will be playing league games against Hartlepool CC for what is the first ever time.
Captain Gareth Spence told SportMail after they clinched victory with a six-wicket win against Maltby to finish second ahead of Bishop Auckland and behind champions Marske: “We are all over the moon.
“We harboured ambitions of getting close, maybe top five or near the top, but we never really thought it would happen.
“We believed that maybe in the future, three years time, we could go up because it is a talented group.
“It’s a sign of how well we’ve done that we have gone up unexpectedly.”
The Hornsby Park outfit began the season in ideal fashion. Gareth said: “We started the season really well, winning the first four games, and that got us out of the blocks quickly.”
But a defeat to rivals Bishop, initially perceived as a huge blow, was used as a catalyst to remount their promotion challenge.
And boy were they inspired. “After the Bishop game we then went undefeated for a while, winning 10 games on a bounce,” Gareth recalled.
“That put us ahead of our rivals with the big games still to play.
“But then we lost to Marske and Bishop again and that left us with a lot of work to do but thankfully we put the graft in and the results went our way.”
It would be a disservice not to credit every member of the squad – “everyone’s played their part and we all deserve it,” Gareth says – but it would also be a injustice not to laud the impact of two of the side’s youngest stars.
That’s why Gareth praised teenage duo Paul Braithwaite and Jack Turnbull, the former hitting 80 not out on Saturday to clinch promotion.
“Paul’s been ever present all season,” Gareth continued.
“He’s fantastic with the bat and ball – he’s a superb all round cricketer.
“He’s just won the U17s County Championships with Durham too.
“He has the fourth highest batting average in the league and that for a 16-year-old is terrific.
“Jack’s only 15 and has taken 34 wickets.
“Because of his age he can only bowl maximum six overs but if he could have bowled more he would have taken more wickets. He’s a massive asset to the team.”
And of the first-fixture-to-look-for match against Hartlepool, Gareth is already excited.
“We’ve talked about that so much!” he laughed.
“We all long to play competitive cricket at Park Drive.
“It’s the best ground in the North-East to play cricket so it’s going to be great to play there with the first team.
“In general, success would be to stay up and establish ourselves as a Premier League team.
“There are some top, top cricketers in that league.
“It’s going to be a massive learning curve for us.
“We will do our work early, identify what we need to change and who we need to bring in because we can’t afford to be left behind early.”
With the team spirit and the triumphant cocktail of youth mixed with seniors, aided by the club’s first professional, Seaton should not be left behind at all.
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