Kimberley Institute captain Alex King says consistency was key to the club’s success after they were crowned Nottinghamshire Premier League champions on Saturday.
Insitute claimed the title with one game to spare, defeat at Clifton mattering little as they obtained the necessary points to make it impossible for second-placed Plumtree to catch them this weekend.
And after revelling in the glory of leading his side to the championship in his first full season as captain, King hailed the efforts of all at the club.
He said: “It’s a pretty surreal feeling to be honest but everyone is thrilled and we deserve it.
“When you consider we started pretty badly by picking up just two points from the first three games, it’s remarkable how we picked up and eventually went on a massive winning streak that ultimately played a key part in our success.
“I think about midway through that run was when we really believed we had a chance of being champions.
“We went to Ordsall Bridon and they’d scored 299 but we knocked it off in about 42 overs and suddenly there was a new kind of belief.
“From then on the momentum carried us through to be worthy winners.”
Kimberley head what has turned into a tight Premier League table, but one which has seen them take advantage of other teams’ slip-ups to devastating effect.
King added: “I think there was one weekend where we won at Radcliffe and Plumtree, West Indian Cavs and Caythorpe all lost, and that became quite common towards the end as we picked up points when those around us slipped up.
“It became a key factor in the end and proved that we deserved to be champions.”
The title is Kimberley’s first since 2000 when the likes of New Zealand star Andre Adams plied their trade at Newdigate Street, with King believing the tag of ‘champions’ could have pros and cons next year.
He added: “Obviously we automatically become one of the favourites to win it again which we haven’t been for a while. We came out of nowhere to win it this time.
“We’re losing Jack Blatherwick and Alex Aldred who have got Notts Academy contracts, but being champions and having built our reputation will perhaps help us bring in very good replacements.”
King, who turns 22-years-old this month, says he has enjoyed the role of captain having taken it on midway through 2014.
He said: “The lads respect me and that helps a lot, even though I’m relatively young.
“I really enjoy the role and the team spirit is excellent, which again has proved key to us becoming champions.
“It’s just starting to sink in a bit now but I think it’ll certainly do so when we lift the trophy at our final game on Saturday and the celebrations really begin.”