AN ‘international’ cricket team has put South Tyneside on the map and opponents in a spin by winning a league and promotion in its debut season.
Marine College Cricket Club (MCCC) from South Tyneside College won nine of its 12 league matches and drew another in the North East Midweek Cricket League.
Now the side – made up of Indian, Pakistan, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi, Nigerian and British students and lecturers – has clinched a clutch of awards for its outstanding achievements.
As well as a trophy for winning division five of the league, it received prizes for the ‘greatest team score’ – 240-5 in just 16 overs – ‘greatest team victory’, by 143 runs, and man of the match performances.
Batsman Kamruzzaman Jibon received an award for scoring 93 runs not out and bowler Balasaathe Elangovan for taking five wickets for just 12 runs.
All-rounder and captain Mannan Khan, a lecturer at the South Shields Marine School, a world-famous flagship for the college, received a best performance award after five ‘man of the match’ nominations.
Not only that, but MCCC scored, on average, more runs and took more wickets than any other team in the whole league – made up of 35 teams, in five divisions. Mr Khan revealed the league win was the culmination of 20 years’ hopes and dreams.
He said: “I was a student here in the early 1990s and wanted to establish a cricket team, but sadly it didn’t happen.
“When I came back as a lecturer three years ago, the first thing I thought to do was to start a cricket team and 80 people came forward and we had five teams.
“A great majority of the students had never played in English conditions before and I was unsure how they would do, but they did very well.”
They were presented with awards at the Blue Flames Sporting Club in Benton, Newcastle.
Lindsey Whiterod, South Tyneside College’s principal and chief executive, said: “The team’s achievements are quite exceptional, but they practised hard to be the best.
“They love the game, and the joy they get from playing competitively – but in the right spirit – has helped them to this triumph.”