We did it! Can you believe it! Kimberley Institute can once again, after 15 years, call ourselves the best cricket team in Nottinghamshire after claiming the points we needed to win the Nottinghamshire Premier League title on Saturday.
Even though we only needed two points to secure the title out of a possible 40 over the last two weeks, it was always going to be a little nervy for us until we actually got there.
After Jack Blatherwick got us off to a great start, you might have just thought the recent juggernaut that we have been riding would just continue to roll on.
Clifton had other ideas however, and we needed George Bacon to come to the party with a wonderful spell in the middle of the innings to get us the five wickets we needed.
It was a classic example of how every member of the squad has played their part and stepped up to the plate when they were needed.
At the top of the order, we have had the guys who have done all the set-up work, laying the foundations. Shaun Levy has had a great season scoring just shy of 700 runs at an average of 40. Tom Rowe has scored 750 at 41 and Sam Johnson 710 at 39.
On their day, each has won games with special innings, but more often than not, it was just a case of accumulating good runs and a fast rate that gave us a platform to win the game.
Then you move into the group I like to call the finishers. Dominic Brown has scored 654 runs at an average of 55 with eight of his 20 innings finishing not out. George Bacon and Alex King have provided 500 crucial runs between them, often in the process of seeing home tight games.
On the bowling front, the captain King has lead the way with 40 wickets to his name at an average of just 19. He has been ably supported by a broad cast with Bacon taking 36 wickets, myself 20, Savage 19, and Brown, Rowe and Blatherwick taking 41 between them.
It is no doubt due to the fact that we have had such a wide range of contributors and perhaps a lack of reliance on one or two individuals, that we have been so successful. Whenever, we have faced difficulties over the last three months, someone has put their hand up and delivered.
Statistics can only tell you part of the story though, and perhaps what has been most important through this period is the tight bond that has developed between the group.
Obviously winning games makes things more enjoyable, but perhaps because many of the players have been through difficult seasons and have come out of the other end of it stronger, they have a strong affinity to take advantage when you start to build something special.
Many people off the pitch have been involved in putting together this successful season. I don’t want to name them individually, but they all know who they are.
To them I say a huge thank you, and to my teammates, for allowing me to fulfil a life ambition of winning one of the top amateur cricket leagues in the country.
Hopefully we can do it again, but for now, let’s all head down to Newdigate Street this Saturday, to celebrate what has been a long awaited triumph for the cricketing club of this wonderful town and community! Come on Kimberley!