Derriaghy Cricket Club are back in the top flight after an absence of seven years following the finale to the campaign last weekend.
After Saturday’s home win over Templepatrick, when they chased down 224 with Kaushik Aphale (85*) Adam Jamison (50) and Andy Kenny (37*) being the main contributors in a 7 wicket victory, they knew promotion and the league title would be there’s if they defeated Woodvale the next day in a 20 over game.
After winning the toss and electing to bowl Derriaghy skipper Lewis had a few anxious moments as he saw his opening over dispatched for 17 and then seeing the home side race to 43 of 4 overs without loss.
It was 1 over spells up to this point but in the next there was a catch behind and things began to swing the Champions elect way when a few balls later batsman Fleming was injured sweeping at a ball and as he lay injured his colleague was run out.
Fleming was forced to retire and from this point the slower bowlers put a strangle hold on the Ballygomartin Road team.
It was the returning Lewis who then wrapped up the long tail taking 5 for 4 in 3.3 overs to finish with 5 for 21 as Woodvale closed on 95 all out.
Derriaghy’s reply was perfectly paced even after the early loss of Lewis with Rob Cumins (29) and Aphale (42) sharing a 52 run partnership that ended when Cumins was stumped.
A Kenny (12*) added a further 25 with Aphale before the latter fell lbw with only 7 runs required. Next man in Peter Bell slapped a 6 to see his side home with 4 overs to spare and this was the cue for much celebrations from a large travelling support who had the luxury of knowing from midway through their innings that Cliftonville had beaten Muckamore and that promotion was already assured.
Billy Boyd, NCU President and Stephen Cruise of Ulster Bank, presented Craig with the league trophy and thus begin the promotion party.
Prior to the weekend there had been celebrations for the Derriaghy youth teams with the news that for the first time in their history the Under 15 team had captured the Division 1 trophy.
This gives a clean sweep of league titles for the club with the Under 13s and Under 11s winning their Division 2 titles.
The club would like to thank everyone who has sent messages of congratulations, they are much appreciated.
Speaking of their title joy and promotion, Captain Craig Lewis said: “I’m overjoyed for the boys, it’s good for the club. I’m just happy for everybody.
“It’s been a long, hard grind but we got there.”
His side certainly exceeded his expectations this season. Lewis said: “We’re ahead of where I thought we’d be.”