Kimberley Institute captain George Bacon has hailed the togetherness and spirit in the team’s squad after they won the Nottinghamshire Premier League title last weekend.
Institute are champions with a game to spare after beating Radcliffe at Newdigate Street, Bacon hitting a century and then taking a catch off the final ball of the match to secure the honours in style.
And with Bacon being one of several players at Kimberley who also won the title back in 2015, he believes the familiarity amongst the squad has played a big part.
He said: “There are seven or eight of us still here from when we last won the title and we’re all best mates and spend every Saturday together, whether it’s playing cricket in the summer or watching football in the winter.
“That not only means that the familiarity helps us, but also means that we’re not afraid to call each other out if people don’t do as they should and get on at each other to do well.
“The togetherness is reflected in how much we all want to win so to become champions again is incredible.”
Kimberley have been among the front-runners throughout the campaign and their win on Saturday, coupled with results elsewhere going their way, meant it was a time for celebration after the game.
Bacon said: “It was a brilliant way to win it. By the time we got to the end we’d heard news filtering through that we’d done enough to be champions, but to win the game outright off the last ball made it that bit sweeter.
“It’ll mean we can enjoy the last game at Hucknall on Saturday without any pressure.”
Despite the title being sewn up with a game still remaining, Bacon says it’s been far from a straightforward success.
He said: “We’ve had wobbles here and there, including against Wollaton the other week, but overall we’ve deserved it.
“We added well to the squad last summer and that, along with the core of our team staying together, has been key to us winning the title.
“The thing about our club is that while we’re now getting to the stage in amateur cricket where players are moving clubs for a hundred quid here or two hundred quid there, we’ve had lads turn down good money to stay here and play for us.
“While player retention will always be a challenge, there’s no reason why we can’t be one of the few clubs to defend the title next season. There are talented lads pushing through from the other senior teams and the juniors as well.
“We’ll also be putting a strong emphasis on the cups too, all of which will hopefully mean players would want to come and play for us for the right reasons rather than going for money elsewhere."
And as for Bacon’s own role in the win over Radcliffe, he added: “I haven’t scored a hundred all season so it was a good time to get one and it felt amazing. Then to take the catch at the end put the icing on the cake and gave us that bit more cause for a celebration that night given how we’d won it.”