CLACTON Cricket Club can look forward to a strong future – and must not dwell in the past anymore.

That’s the defiant message from team manager Gary Kirk, after watching his team complete back-to-back promotions.

The Seasiders had a well-documented fall from grace when, for financial reasons, they opted to pull out of the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League in February 2014.

However, they responded positively by winning the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship division four title last summer.

Now they have followed it up by securing the division three crown, thanks to a five-wicket victory at home to Brockley on Saturday.

“I’m so proud of the team and club,” said stalwart Kirk.

“We’ve worked very hard, both on and off the field, to move forward.

“This is the first time in our 140-year history that we’ve gained back-to-back promotions in the Two Counties Championship.

“It’s a superb achievement but even better when you consider the difficulties we’ve had over the past 18 months.

“However, now it’s time for the club to move forward, look to a strong future and not to than dwell in the past anymore.”

Clacton’s star performers at the weekend were Lewis Kirk (66), Brad Turner (55) and Matt Fowler (47 not out).

They have only lost three games all season, winning 17 of their 21 fixtures, and will be hoping to finish on a high in this weekend’s final match, at bottom team Bury St Edmunds.

“The players deserve so much praise – they’re a real team,” added Kirk.

“The greatest compliment I can pay is that they made me feel like playing cricket again – something I didn’t think I’d ever say.

“We’ve also integrated a few young players into the adult teams and they’ve settled in well.

“They’ve been fantastic and I’m sure they’ve enjoyed the success as well.

“I’d also like to make a special mention to Tendring Council. Their groundsmen have once again provided the club with a superb pitch this season.

“We can’t thank them enough.

“They work really hard for us and we’re very grateful.”

Kirk believes the future looks bright for his club, although they are always on the look-out for extra help in terms of business partnerships and sponsorship.

“We’ll continue to progress and our plans for the future are clear,” he said.

“We’re determined to continue providing cricket within the community, making local players our priority and establishing a link with schools, to enable a continued strong foundation.

“We need financial support, though, and are looking for people and businesses to back our initiatives.” Anyone interested can contact Kirk on 07880 192077.

On Saturday, Clacton travel to Bury St Edmunds (12.30pm start).