DURHAM and Cleveland men's over-35 team defeated three other counties in the inter-county championships division one north play-off group in Pontefract last weekend to claim a first-ever promotion to the premier division.

Regulars Neil Harrison, Ian Williams and Peter Lonsdale were joined by Andy Cross - who was making only his second appearance - and newly qualified Tim Clarke to sweep aside Warwickshire, Gloucestershire and Yorkshire.

The first match was a comfortable 4-1 win over Warwicks. Durham and Cleveland shared the opening two contests, but then reeled off the last three for an encouraging start.

Yorkshire proved to be more difficult, as expected, but fifth string Lonsdale, of Guisborough, and number four Clarke, of Yarm, both won in straight sets for a 2-0 lead.

The host county pulled one back before captain Williams, of Nunthorpe, clinched the tie at third string.

Gloucestershire were easily routed in the last fixture .

The team had not been discouraged the day before when top player Yawar Abbas announced he was unable to play. Malcolm Leech was drafted in as reserve.

Clark and Lonsdale were both unbeaten in the three matches, while Williams and Cross won twice each.

Results. - D&C 4 Warwicks 1: A Cross (Norton) bt M Robinson 3-1, N Harrison (Nunthorpe) bt A Murray 3-2, I Williams (Nunthorpe) lost to A Pallett 1-3, T Clarke bt G Robinson 3-0, P Lonsdale (Guisborough) bt M Sarwar 3-0.

D&C 3 Yorkshire 2: A Cross lost to A Norish 1-3, N Harrison lost to S Martin 1-3, I Williams bt I Cawthorne 3-1, T Clarke bt K Hinds 3-0, P Lonsdale bt S Hodgson 3-0.