Millpark secured the Section Three title for the first time in 18 years with a final day victory in Dunmurry.
A brilliant bowling display from player of the season Davy Glover and a confident batting performance helped the locals to victory.
“I am extremely pleased to have clinched the title,” said a jubilant skipper, Paul McCart.
“I felt at the beginning of the season if we could get our strongest side out each week we would be hard to beat. Although that was not always the case, the players who did play didn’t let me down and we just did enough to secure the title.”
McCart, though, is under no illusions of how difficult Section Two will be next season.
“We know as a club we need to strengthen the playing side, with both players capable of performing in Section Two and also players interested in playing in a more relaxed environment in Junior Nine, in a hopefully reformed 2nd XI,” said McCart.
“I would encourage ex-players to contact the club and consider playing next season and those who have never played to give the game a try at Banford Green.”
With only wicket keeper John Simpson missing and all-rounder Roshan Jose available for the first time this season, Millpark were confident they had the side capable of obtaining the victory.
Millpark won the toss and decided to have a bowl on a very green wicket, with Harry Lockhart and Stu McCart taking the new ball.
Dunmurry opened the batting with the hard-hitting Mark Coburn, one of the stand-out players in the section.
He lived up to the billing, striking the ball to all parts of the Fullerton Park ground.
Stu McCart dismissed the other opener Ross LBW, leading to the arrival of the experienced Irvine. It was he and Coburn, who provided the standout partnership putting on almost a century as the game threatened to run away from Millpark.
It was the introduction of Jose that finally removed Coburn (66), superbly caught on the long off boundary, by arguably Millpark’s player of the season, Davy Glover.
It was then Glover’s return with ball that ripped the heart out of the Dunmurry middle order, as he bowled two overs, taking four wickets for one run, including removing the excellent Irvine for 38.
Dunmurry finished on 155-9 from their 35 overs.
Paul McCart opened with Glover and the batsmen made a good start with the side 23 off five overs before Glover was the first to go. Ryan McCart joined his cousin at the crease and after the obligatory play and miss from the first few deliveries, he began to strike the ball aggressively.
With Millpark apparently cruising to victory, the skipper chased a wide one and was well caught in the covers to leave the side 92-2 off only 15 overs. However, the balance of the game was to change with Ryan McCart’s (47) dismissal and that of Ben Talbot to leave Millpark 103-4 off 20.
Dunmurry were now very much back in the game but last week’s hero Stu McCart was still at the crease, along with Jason Maxwell and both men replicated the previous week’s innings chipping away at the score with quick singles.
Millpark still required 20 runs when Maxwell was adjudged LBW and the nerves began to jangle amongst players and supporters alike.
However, they need not have worried as Neil Reilly batted with confidence and, along with Stu McCart (18 n/o), guided Millpark to victory with a couple of overs to spare. It was left to Reilly (10 n/o) to hit the winning runs, which confirmed the Banford Green club as Section Three winners.
As the development of 14 year-old Harry Lockhart shows, the club gives young players a chance of playing senior cricket and will continue to do so next season in Section Two.