A six wicket haul for Paul Thwaites went a long way to securing Market Overton’s return to the top flight of the Rutland League on Sunday.
Marko beat Whittlesey by six wickets and, with the top two promoted, they cannot now be caught by third-placed Bretton who trail by 100 points.
Uppingham sit second, almost 70 points behind, and even though they have games in hand, Marko are favourites to clinch the division title.
Thwaites, whose side does not play this weekend, said: “I’m assuming Uppingham take maximum points from their games, which means we need 12 points from our two matches.
“It’s now safe to say we are promoted and we are chuffed to bits.
“We did not expect it but I think the way have played, we deserve it. After four or five games we began to think that we were better than we had thought.
“As a club we have really moved forward on and off the pitch this year.
“We have had a strong side out most weeks.
“Brian Makwana is always consistent and Ollie Monks at three has batted very well – I think he’ll be even better next season against better bowlers.
“But I cannot knock anyone’s commitment. As a captain I could not ask for any more.”
Marko gave Whittlesey little room for manoeuvre after the hosts chose to bat first, dismissing for 105 inside 29 overs.
Five of Thwaites’ wickets were lbw decisions - all of which he claimed were stonewall – as he finished with 6 for 36 from his 12 over spell. Mike Roberts took 3 for 29 with one run out as the home side crumbled.
The Rutlanders then wasted no time, knocking off the required runs in the 21st over. Stuart Rose hit 38 and Thwaites made 32 not out as Marko cruised to 109 for 4.
Thwaites added: “It was a brand new pitch and I thought ‘oh dear’ when we lost the toss but they chose to bat.
“I think they were afraid we’d set a big target but you could tell what the pitch was going to do and I knew we could keep the ball low.”