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Cricket: Hawarden Park drop out of top flight despite final-day victory

CONNAH’S Quay celebrated winning the title on Saturday, as victory over St Asaph ensured Llandudno could not catch them in the North Wales League Premier Division title race.

The result ended Tudno’s five-year domination of the top division and brought the title to Flintshire for the first time since Mold lifted the trophy in 2005.

But for Hawarden Park, themselves Premier Division champions in 2003, the writing was on the wall as, despite the champions doing them a favour by seeing off St Asaph, they failed to secure the maximum points victory they needed to cling to their place in the top flight.

Park picked up only 20 points from a possible 30 at Bangor, which would have been enough had St Asaph not managed to extract 10 bonus points from their defeat at Central Park.

As a result, Park will need to regroup and prepare for a promotion campaign in 2012 in order to ensure their proposed new ground is christened as a Premier Division ground in 2013.

Bangor batted first and made a surprisingly early declaration on 132-5.

Tom Ducker was the man equipped to unlock Bangor’s defences, taking 3-27.

Park’s task was not a difficult one, with Bangor having nothing to play for lodged in mid-table.

Matthew Fawcett opened with 27, ensuring he was Park’s highest run-scorer for the season but falling 41 runs short of 1,000 in the Premier Division.

Bowling scourge Ducker posted his final half-century of the season to score 53 and when Tim Newhouse added 30 to the scoreboard Park were almost there.

But even the prospect of survival was not quite enough to spur on the batsmen to finish with a flourish.

Newhouse at number three was the final Park batsman to reach double-figures as Park collapsed.

In the end they only just made it over the line, scoring 133-9 and failing to secure enough points to leapfrog St Asaph to safety.

It encapsulated the season Park have had, just missing out time and again and not enjoying the odd lucky breaks some teams enjoy.

The 144-year-old club was relegated from the top flight for the first time since the Premier Division became ECB accredited in 2001.

They will be replaced next season by another Flintshire side, Northop, who return to the Premier Division after a four-year absence having clinched promotion with a game to spare.