Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Final Was the Best Day of My Career

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Final Was the Best Day of My Career

Article excerpt

Byline: Local Cricket Preview, Andrew Wilkinson

Middlesbrough skipper Martin Ball has admitted that winning the Macmillan Cup was the best day of his cricketing life.

He has won silverware with the club several times, but never as skipper, so to see off high-flying Saltburn on their home ground in this week's thriller was as good as it gets.

Middlesbrough, in a transitional season, have struggled at the wrong end of the table for much of the NYSD Premier Division campaign, but their cup spirit rose to the fore again.

"I always felt we could win it, though if you look at the table we were obviously the underdogs in most people's eyes going into the game.

"But it's a five-bowler cup and we always felt that would give us the edge because we have six or seven good bowlers, wheras Saltburn tend to rely on three or four.

"I thought that was the difference between the sides, though it was a great game, which went to the wire on a good track on a red hot day.

"That's what cricket is all about, and it was a credit to both teams to produce such a good final.

"We won three cups last year, but Sunday was particularly special for me."

Boro won by four wickets in a game of almost 500 runs, and it capped a good weekend, in which Middlesbrough beat Thornaby to climb further away from relegation trouble.

"We seem to be heading the right way, and have found some consistency," said Martin.

"The professional Brenton Parchment has come good, the top five or six batsmen are scoring runs, and we are bowling better."

To win a cup and head towards mid-table would be a good achievement, but Martin won't settle for that yet.

"We're also still in the Matthew Oswald Cup. That's another in which teams can use five bowlers, so we're aiming to land that one as well.

"I knew at the start of this campaign that we couldn't live up to last season, because we lost so many players, but it feels good to be heading in the right direction now. …

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