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Ben Rhydding escape the drop in the nick of time for departing captain
Ben Rhydding clung on to their Aire-Wharfe Division One status with a dramatic victory on the final day of the season to crown skipper Nick Smith’s farewell appearance.
Smith, who led the club from Division Three to the top flight with successive promotions, admitted to having “almost given up hope” when his side plunged to 70-6 in reply to Kirkstall Educational’s 202-6.
But Charlie Swallow inspired an incredible escape act that saw Ben Rhydding triumph by two wickets with eight balls to spare.
He made 78no and shared crucial partnerships of 87 with Laurie O’Connor and an unbeaten 59 with Alex Miller (28no), as Ben Rhydding turned the game around.
The victory relegated the 2011 champions Thackley who were bowled out for just 71 by Otley as they suffered a seven-wicket defeat. Ricky Halloran took 6-24.
Smith, who is expected to return to his old club Adel next season, said: “It was an incredible result. When three of our middle order were out for ducks and we slumped to 70-6, I feared the worst.
“There were still a lot of runs to get, but crucially Charlie was still in. He is a class batsman and both Laurie and Alex responded to his example.”
Smith, who is the oldest player in the team at 32, added: “Preserving our Division One status was our top priority this season and I am delighted to have done that.”
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