Agony makes way for ecstasy at New Mills CC

New Mills CC promoted as second division champions 2011, back Sheila Strong, Darren Coverley, Michael Birchenall, Dave Ward, Miles Palmer-Williams, Callum Firth, Stefan Fielding, Malclom Strong, Mike Collinge. front, Stuart Whitchurch, Jonathan Duckworth and Ashley Burgess
New Mills CC promoted as second division champions 2011, back Sheila Strong, Darren Coverley, Michael Birchenall, Dave Ward, Miles Palmer-Williams, Callum Firth, Stefan Fielding, Malclom Strong, Mike Collinge. front, Stuart Whitchurch, Jonathan Duckworth and Ashley Burgess

THE AGONY and ecstasy of New Mills Cricket Club’s roller-coaster 2010 season has been replaced with just ecstasy in 2011 — after the club completed a extraordinary treble.

Just 12 months ago, the Millers’ first team suffered the frustration of narrowly missing out on promotion to Division One, while it was mixed emotions for the second team which celebrated lifting the 2nd XI Hawke Trophy but suffered the anguish of relegation to Division Four.

No such problems this time around, though, as New Mills have taken the Peak Sports Derbyshire & Cheshire League by storm in 2011, winning both Division Two and Division Four to secure promotion, and lifting the coveted 1st XI Bissenden Cup.

First team captain Jonathan Duckworth said he was delighted with the successful season.

“I just think everyone was up for it after the disappointment of last year, when we missed out by eight points (on promotion to Division One), and we thought it was our year this time around, so we just turned up and played our cricket well,” he said.

Duckworth believes the acquisition of Stefan Fielding from Mottram was a big coup for the club at the end of the 2010 season, and the batsman has certainly made his presence known, averaging well over 40 with the bat across all competitions.

There was also improvement in their bowling attack, with strong performances by their three main bowlers, Dave Ward, Ashley Burgess and Michael Birchenall, the latter having taken over 50 league and cup wickets.

And while the skipper is under no illusions as to the challenge that lies ahead in 2012, he believes his side has what it takes to survive in the top-flight.

“There were games that we would have lost last season which we won this season, and that is down to our players’ attitude and the way we have played,” he explained.

“All of the Bissenden Cup games we won were against Division One teams, and most of them we won quite convincingly.

“I think this proves our players have the ability and are definitely of the right standard.

“It is going to be a difficult season next year, but I think we should be able to hold our own. We are all looking forward to it.”

Club president Alistair Stevens, who also captains the second team, said: “Overall, it has been a fantastic season at the club, the best we have had in the 20 years I have been at the club.”

And praising his Division Four-winning second team, he added: “It was very important to push back to Division Three, and that’s exactly what we’ve done.

“We’ve a lot of younger lads, a very stable side, and they have done great. It has been great to see them develop into really good players.”