Henry’s delight as Pannal complete ‘dream’ title win

Pannal's Andy Ellis.
Pannal's Andy Ellis.
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PANNAl captain Matt Henry was in celebratory mood this week after his side sealed the Nidderdale League Division One title on Saturday.

The champions have enjoyed a stellar year and finally secured top spot with a 195-run win over Burton Leonard, but Henry admits their success in 2015 came as a surprise.

“We went into the season feeling positive but the league title was probably beyond what any of us were thinking of, especially by that margin,” he said.

“We prepared well for the season but, in all honesty, the dominance we’ve had has come as a bit of a shock, but it’s a dream come true.”

Henry, who has starred with ball in hand this year, says an improved consistency in their bowling has held the key to their success this season.

“The difference for us this year has probably been our bowling,” he explained. “In this league, a lot of teams tend to build their gameplans around a good run total. We’re usually strong in that department, but our bowling has been much more consistent this season.

“We’ve got a team together that we’re very proud of, it’s well balanced with plenty of team spirit.

“It’s a good combination which has obviously worked well for us this year.”

Despite this weekend’s success, Henry insists his side will not take their foot off the gas next season, with the skipper targeting an historic league and cup double in 2016.

“Going forward, we want to win even more,” he added. “This year, we had the dream of doing the double but we unfortunately just fell short.

“The incentive of making our own bit of history by doing the double is what will spur us on to hopefully get some more success in years to come.”

While Henry has led the side this year, it was Andrew Ellis who took the headlines in their decisive win this weekend as he hit a magnificent knock of 172.

Ellis was in sensational form as Pannal amassed a whopping 440-5.

Every batsman hit double figures before Rob Ellis then took 4-24 with the ball as Leonard were kept well short of the target at 245-7.

Second-placed Ouseburn are now 15 points adrift of Pannal with just two games to go despite an impressive 241-run defeat of Hampsthwaite. Ouseburn roared to 336-6 before dismissing sixth-placed Hampsthwaite for just 95.

Helperby are a further 11 points away in third after easing to a nine-wicket success against Killinghall. Killinghall were sent tumbling for just 113 as Atish Chouhan (4-25) caused havoc with the ball. Chouhan’s unbeaten 51 then guided his side to a winning 114-1.

Elsewhere, Spofforth sit just two points behind fourth-placed Burton Leonard after Saturday’s 104-run blitzing of second-bottom Blubberhouses.

Dillon McCloskey’s 59 took Spofforth to 226 all out before Seb Clancy took four wickets to help bowl ’Houses out for 122.

Meanwhile, Rock-bottom Newby Hall’s season of struggle was exemplified as they lost by ten wickets to third-bottom Darley. Rosco Sands took a brilliant 6-21 to decimate Newby for just 59 all out with Darley easing to 61 without loss in reply, led by an unbeaten 39 from Rob Best.

Finally, Alne remain seventh after a hard-fought two-wicket win against Bishop Thornton.