HEATON will be playing Premiership Division cricket in the Bolton League next season after sealing promotion on Saturday.

Oliver Sutcliffe’s men hammered Darcy Lever by seven wickets chasing only 58 inside 13 of 30 overs, and promotion was secured a couple of hours later when Golborne won at third-placed Eagley.

League leaders Heaton could win the league at home to Golborne on Saturday given they are six points clear of Atherton in second, who also lost against Astley Bridge.

“We’re delighted,” said Sutcliffe, in his first full season as captain. “Promotion was definitely the aim at the start of the year, so it’s great we’ve got there.

“We could now win the title at home on Saturday, which is where we’d have always preferred to have won it. One more big effort.”

New signing Ross Dickinson starred with 5-21 from six overs of off-spin in only his third game since joining from Bradshaw midway through July.

In a rain-reduced 30-over game, hosts Darcy were restricted to 57-9 having elected to bat.

In a quickfire chase, professional Harsha Rajapaksha, who is set to return next year, top-scored with 20.

“The wicket was challenging, but I’m just happy we were able to get a game on. Jimmy (Walsh-Hill), their skipper, was keen to play, especially with not playing last week.

“We bowled really well. We only bowled three extras in 30 overs, which is testament to how well we bowled.

“Ross was excellent. He came from Bradshaw to get a bit more opportunity at first-team level, and he’s been a great signing. He took a really important catch on the boundary to dismiss their pro. He’s definitely improved our side.

“He’s a young lad, 21 or 22, and he’s more than capable of playing first-team cricket.

“It wouldn’t even surprise me if Bradshaw wanted him back next year, but we want to keep him.”

Sutcliffe says Heaton celebrated with a team curry on Saturday evening, and it is a team he is keen to supplement with only the odd addition ahead of next season’s Premiership campaign, the first since 2017.

“We’ve already had a few meetings about next year, just having a look at sides we’ll be playing against and to see if there’s any areas of our side we can improve,” he said.

“Joe Ball’s been filling in behind the stumps, so we may be looking for a wicketkeeper. He’s a top-class batsman, but opening you don’t necessarily want him keeping for 50 overs as well.

“We don’t plan on doing anything major. Even with the team we have now, I think we’d have been competitive in the league above this season.

“I’m pretty sure Harsha will be playing for us next year. I can’t 100 per cent confirm that, but it’s 95 per cent there.

“He’s been coaching the junior teams, the under-13s and u15s, which is very important as a pro. He’s fitted in with the whole ethos of the club.”

Prolific batsman Sutcliffe took over the captaincy from Gary Garner midway through last season, which they ended superbly.

“It was massively important having that under my belt,” he added. “We were very successful in that time, and it built confidence.”