PROUD Clacton Cricket Club chairman Gary Kirk believes his side's title-winning heroics provide a "template for the future".

The young Seasiders were crowned North Essex League first division champions after a 97-run success at home to Tendring rivals Mistley, on Sunday.

It is the club's first North Essex League title since 2007 and provided the perfect finale to a memorable 2019 campaign.

Kirk admitted being delighted and described the success as a fitting reward for the club's hungry young players.

"I'm really proud and pleased," he said.

"It's always nice to win things - and especially pleasing to wrap things up at home - and this success provides a great template for the future.

"These guys are close. They want to stick together and play for the same team.

"They train hard and have been together for a while now, despite being a young group.

"They're the last group of players to come through together when schools were playing competitive cricket.

"But they've proved to themselves and everyone else that if you're dedicated, work hard and enjoy your cricket, you can achieve things.

"Winning isn't everything in sport but it certainly helps.

"It's a fitting reward for the players, who have put so much effort in.

"They're all local lads and it's like a family here.

"Hopefully their success encourages others to get involved and we've already got a full winter programme planned to try and introduce more young players to cricket."

Clacton won seven of their matches overall and sealed top spot with a stylish win on Sunday.

Tom Sinclair's 134 and 43 from Matthew O’Brien helped them to a total of 257 for six, before restricting Mistley to 160 for eight. George Hutton scored 40 for the Swans.

Wivenhoe finished as runners-up, with third spot going to Colchester and East Essex.

"Given all that the club's been through, this is a huge and fantastic step in the right direction," added Kirk.

"It's an unbelievable effort and while it might not be every club's top priority, there are still some big hitters in our league.

"The likes of Colchester, Wivenhoe and Mistley all set out to win the North Essex League.

"It means something to them, as it does us, and that's why this success is so important.

"Bigger clubs than us can't raise a side on Sundays.

"The fact we can shows we're doing something right and if we can build on it, it gives us a great opportunity to move forward."