South Notts League Division A title triumph for Balderton Cricket Club 1sts
Proud skipper Tim Clipsham piled the praise on his Balderton players as they were crowned South Notts League Division A champions on Saturday.
Balderton defeated Belvoir by six wickets in their must-win final match of the season to take the title by just one point from runners-up Gedling and Sherwood.
It is the first time in more than 20 years that Balderton have won the Division A title, which creates a pathway into the Nottinghamshire Premier League for the thriving club.
Clipsham said: “I am absolutely delighted and it’s brilliant for everyone involved with the club.
“It’s a great achievement. One of the past captains was there on Saturday and he said that it was one of the biggest things that he has known the club do and, when you hear things like that, it’s a proud moment for everybody.
“I am so proud of all the lads. It’s been a long, hard season but we stuck at it and I’m absolutely made up about it.”
The first team’s title triumph capped a memorable double for the club with the second string securing promotion from Division G after finishing in third place.
Clipsham added: “It’s been such a great year for the club.
“We have had some new players join this year and we have such great team morale.
“It’s a young side who have trained very hard and our coach Billy Smart has put a lot of effort in this year which we want to thank him for.
“Everybody has been brilliant and all the players in the squad have done something in a game to contribute to win a match in some way or form and there’s not many clubs which you can say that about.”
It was captain Clipsham and Ryan Charlesworth who played crucial roles in Saturday’s final day success over Belvoir.
Charlesworth made the vital breakthrough to snap a 97-run second wicket partnership after Belvoir had batted first and made 220.
He went on to take four wickets and then scored his maiden half-century for the first team as Balderton bounced back from a tricky start.
They were reeling on 37-3 when Clipsham joined Charlesworth to form a match-winning stand of 137.
When Charlesworth departed after reaching his 50, Clipsham went on to make 94 not out as Balderton triumphed in the 42nd over.
The captain added: “I have been really disappointed with the way in which I have played this year. I haven’t scored as many runs as I wanted myself.
“There was a bit of pressure and it was just getting going really because they were coming hard at us, but it was the best thing that could have happened because it got my blood up and made me concentrate.
“Myself and Ryan Charlesworth had a really good partnership. He batted exceptionally well and it his first 50 opening the batting for the first team and he pulled it out when we needed him to.
“Ryan has also been exceptional all year with the ball. Scott Barnsdale got the early breakthrough but the luck wasn’t really with us after that.
“Everything seemed to be getting away from us a little bit so I thought we needed to change it and brought Ryan on because he has been my go-to man all year.
“He’s probably been one of the best bowlers in the league all year. He has been consistently outstanding.
“We wanted to keep them to 250 so to get them out for 220 was a good effort. We were happy with that but then lost Ben Ryder first ball of the game and Chris Morris went fairly cheaply a few balls later.
“We were in a mess but thankfully myself and Ryan put on a great partnership that saw us home.”