A THRILLING summer of West Tyne League cricket reached boiling point on Saturday when the teams at the top of Division One laid claim on the title.

All eyes were on two games, with second place Haydon Bridge hosting last year’s champions Humshaugh, who started the day in third place.

Bridge did all they could to challenge leaders Haltwhistle, taking maximum points. But it was to be Haltwhistle’s day. For they secured the win they needed to clinch the coveted championship away to Mitford.

The final day victory was something of a procession for Haltwhistle. They put their hosts out for just 99, with Phillip Thompson (3-3) and Jonny Wallace (3-26) both taking three wickets each, and two each for Dan Kirkup (2-21) and Bart Ryan (2-11).

In reply, Ryan hit 46 while Ben Lloyd and Mark Rowell were 24 and 20 not out respectively, as their side finished on 100-1. Stu Hills took the only wicket, courtesy of a catch by Paras Patel.

It capped a highly impressive season for Haltwhistle, who 16 of their 22 matches, drawing four, and losing twice.

They finished eight points ahead of Haydon Bridge, who managed 15 wins and five draws.

Their challenge went right to the wire. The high scoring Joe Barber notched up 94, while Dale Leadbitter added 68, as Haydon finished on 229-4. Humshaugh’s Ed Crawford, and Foster, both took two wickets.

The visitors were all out for 55, with Tom Waugh taking 3-10. But Humshaugh finished third. The club’s 13 wins and four draws was a highly respectable defence of the title they earned during a memorable league and cup winning season in 2018.

Hexham Leazes had to settle for fourth place after losing by five wickets at Benwell Hill III. Leazes were all out for 130, with Benwell’s Zain Ullah taking 3-28, and Darshana Thiranga 19-2.

Assanka Jayaweera was 33 not out as Benwell reached 136-5. Dan Toward and Mark Armstrong took two wickets each.

At the bottom of the table, Wylam defeated Belsay by nine wickets to relegate their opponents. Matty Fenwick was Belsay’s top scorer with 21 as they could only muster 89. Paul Robinson took 4-14.

Wylam cruised to 90-1, with Neil Prince 51 not out. Neil Wells added 20 before he was caught by Jasper Gray, from the bowling of Jonny Hedley.

Stamfordham conceded their home match against Matfen Hall, but both sides had nothing other than pride to play for.

Newton won by eight wickets at home to South Northumberland.

Despite an impressive 50 from Tristan Meears White, the visitors were all out for 124. There were two wickets each for Brian Taylor (2-28) and Andy Goulding (2-15).

There was a fair helping of runs from Matt Scattergood in reply, who was 56 not out for Newton. Dan Taylor was 32 not out. David Cragg and Trudy Johnson were the wicket takers.

The West Tyne League’s fixture secretary and match umpire Dickie Purvis said the 2019 season will be remembered for both weather interruptions and entertaining cricket.

“We had a couple of frustrating weekends when the rain got the better of us. There’s nothing we can do about that, but obviously we’re happier when matches go ahead and everyone is getting a game of cricket.

“It’s been an excellent season. Humshaugh weren’t quite able to retain the Division One title, but it’s been quite a contest with a few teams in the hunt, until it came down to the closing stages between Haltwhistle and Haydon Bridge.

“Nobody ran away with it, which kept the league entertaining right until the final day.”

Dickie praised the players and volunteers involved with all West Tyne League Clubs.

He added: “I’ve seen a lot of people enjoying their cricket. We’ve got people of different ages involved and I think there’s a lot of interest in local cricket. Long may that continue.

“Well done to Haltwhistle on winning Division One, to Stocksfield III on winning Division II, and to all of the other clubs who gave it their all.”

West Tyne League players and officials will join together for the annual league dinner, which will take place at Hexham Auction Mart on Friday, October 18.

The event will include the presentation of team and individual trophies.