Patrington’s first XI produced an excellent display to overcome second-placed Woodhouse Grange to secure a first-ever division one east title with three games to spare.
Losing yet another toss, home captain Ashley McKinley wasn’t too displeased to be asked to bowl first on a brand-new surface, which after plenty of water during the week and a tinge of green, still looked like it may be slightly damp underneath and would offer the new ball some assistance before drying out as the game wore on.
Opening the bowling, Billy Ineson (2-21) and Ian Buss (0-36) shared the new ball and kept a lid on things early on with some tight bowling as Ineson picked up an early wicket with a brute of a full delivery.
Woodhouse remained resolute, so once again McKinley turned to his spin duo of Grant Van Es and Danny Collinson. The pair bowled with great success in the reverse fixture and it appeared the visiting captain Chris Wood (15) had decided attack was the best form of defence as he danced down the pitch to Van Es’s first two deliveries, only to find himself caught at mid-on after miscuing one straight to the hands of Ineson.
Van Es struck again three balls later as Woodhouse slipped to 44 for 3. Tom Stubley (30) and Ben Burdett began to rebuild the innings before the former was dismissed by Collinson at short mid-wicket with Brian Butler the recipient of a catch.
Van Es and Collinson (3-39) maintained a grip on the game, but Burdett (61) was playing a lone hand and some good striking saw him reach an excellent half-century before the captain McKinley (1-25) turned to himself and he soon dismissed the dangerous-looking batsman clean bowled. Only Declan Eastwood (29) offered any other resistance as the returning Van Es (4-43) cleaned up the innings to dismiss the visitors for a below-par 169 all out inside 44 overs.
At halfway, Patrington knew all they had to do was chase down their victory target and the division one title would be theirs. Having struggled to chase a similar total two weeks previously against lowly South Holderness, McKinley called for more responsible batting from his top order.
Opening with spin, Woodhouse did make early inroads as George Baty (3-42) took three top-or-der wickets to restrict Patrington to 62 for 3. Still with more than 100 runs required, the game certainly hung in the balance and some nerves were possibly creeping into the home camp. Luckily for them, opener Ian Buss remained at the crease and kept a cool head, batting superbly to anchor the innings. He was now joined by Bob Eldon-Smith, who would dominate an excellent fourth-wicket partnership of 58 as Patrington eased the pressure and moved closer to victory.
Eldon-Smith played aggressively, showing great intent to up the tempo and change the mo-mentum of the game, and his run-a-ball 39 included seven fours and one maximum before he fell to a fine caught and bowled from young Lewis Ainley (1-33).
At 120 for 4 and 50 still required, Buss then carried on the momentum and went on the attack reaching a well-compiled half-century, aided by Ben Butler (16*).
Patrington would reach their victory target with no further alarm securing a six-wicket victory with 12 overs to spare. Buss finished unbeaten on 63 from 105 deliveries with six fours and two sixes in an excellent knock for his team, sparking jubilant scenes as Patrington wrapped up the Division One East title for the first time in the club’s 173-year history.
It means they will ply their trade in the Championship next season, just one league below the highest possible standard.
They will pit their wits against some strong sides in 2023 in what is sure to be a huge test for the club. A huge well done to Ash McKinley and his side. McKinley, who took the captaincy at the start of the season, has led his side superbly in what has not only been a successful season for the club, but an enjoyable one too.