ED Kemp produced a true captain’s performance to lead Cleobury Mortimer to victory in a last-day promotion shoot out at Canon Frome.

Kemp claimed three wickets and two maidens from 12 overs as the hosts posted 239 for six and then rattled off an unbeaten 91 in response as Cleobury won with 243 for six with an over to spare.

The result sealed second spot behind champions Ross on Wye as Cleobury went up at the first attempt from Marches League Division Two having moved across from the Worcestershire League over the winter.

“When you look at the scorecard it was a fitting way to finish the season,” said Kemp.

“With how important it was for both teams, to play out 89 overs like that was a credit to the clubs and our lads were superb.

“We had a couple of slip-ups that cost us the title but we definitely deserved it. Looking through the bonus points, we had the league’s best bowling attack.

“At times our batting maybe didn’t match that but when we needed to step it up we did, especially on Saturday.

“We only used 16 players all season so our success has come from having a closely-knit squad. Everyone deserves the credit.”

James Manley (2-48) bagged three maidens in trying to stifle Canon Frome whose biggest contributions came from Stephen Wilson (69) and Nicko Evans (74*).

Nick Griffiths (20), Ben Griffiths (41) and Sam Evans (27) produced much-needed continuity with the bat to see Cleobury over the line.

Elsewhere, Tim Gasch’s quartet of fours (25) was not enough to prevent Knighton-on-Teme (134ao) finishing with a six-wicket defeat at Colwall III (135 for four).