Eglinton win the promotion play off
The last remaining place in next season's new look North West Premier Division was taken by Eglinton on Saturday afternoon as the curtain fell on a campaign that had finally lived up to it's billing.
The eagerly anticipated finale was a promotion/relegation play-off between the villagers, with 12 wins out of 12 matches in Division 2 this season and Glendermott who finished in eighth place in the top flight despite winning almost half of their matches throughout the summer.
Gordon Montgomery was slightly hesitant in asking the second tier champions to bat first on winning the toss despite the very green track but it was clear early on why he had had those reservations. Chris Pierce (18) and Andy Christie (17) got their team off to a decent start before Richard Wylie and Jamie Millar injected a bit of pace into proceedings.
Wylie has been having a superb season and he looked completely at ease against the Division 1 side's attack sharing in a 46-run stand with Millar who like Andy Pierce and Ross Allen looks every inch a bright prospect for his team. Millar got himself run out after a mix up having made 36 and that wicket really lifted Glendermott as Montgomery swapped the gloves for the ball.
The Rectory skipper was joined in the attack by former Eglinton player Stephen McCloskey and from a relatively cosy 102 for 2, the villagers found themselves reduced to 140 for 7. Glendermott were well on top now but the pivotal moment of the match, and probably the fielding side's season was about to bite.
Wylie, on 47, went after McCloskey but mistimed one straight down the throat of Silva at long off only for the Sri Lankan to fumble and spill. If you had to pick a player on either side to pouch one for you it would have been Silva but Glendermott took a while to recover.
Skipper O'Doherty was playing the perfect foil for Wylie and the pair posted 69 runs for the 8th wicket of which the former made just 17. Wylie was eventually dismissed for 86, a knock that included 7 fours and 3 sixes but to their credit, O'Doherty and Jonny Gardiner upped the ante in the final few overs.
The skipper finished unbeaten on 35 very valuable runs while Gardiner clubbed 3 sixes in his quick-fire 26 not out as the villagers closed on 248-8. McCloskey was the pick of the attack with 2 for 33 while Montgomery and McCloskey also helped themselves to a brace, however heading into the break, Glendermott would have been wondering how Eglinton would have fared had Silva taken that catch and left them 145 for 8.
After 9 overs the Rectory men were 74 for 1 and looking set fair before Gardiner picked up his second wicket dismissing Montgomery for 32.
Silva raced to his 50 by sending Richard Wylie's first two deliveries sailing over the clubhouse roof but the match turned again in the next over when Gardiner bent back his off stump to leave the Waterside men on 91 for 3.
Alan Johnston, another player having a good season joined Bob Robinson and these two looked as though they could save their team as they added a half century stand. Neal Stewart then joined the attack and promptly removed Johnston for a well played 40 before Wylie picked up both Robinson and Charlie Elder as Eglinton closed in on a crucial win.
Unfortunately for Glendermott the tail couldn't wag and their stay in the top flight of North West cricket ended to the villagers' delight.
Photo: Eglinton celebrate the final Glendermott wicket
It seems unfair that Montgomery's side would be relegated in those circumstances but those were the breaks this season. No doubt they will be back sooner rather than later but kudos to Karl O'Doherty and his men who thoroughly deserve their chance back in the big league.
And so it ended- a season when the North West embraced change and did so in difficult circumstances with the worst summer's weather in memory. Just 7 months until they can do it all again.