Collingham & Linton CC snatched a win from the jaws of defeat in the last match of the season on Saturday, to secure their first-ever Aire Wharfe league and cup double.
It was a glorious finale to Sam Anderson’s first season as captain – despite some nervous moments along the way.
“There were three or four times during the match when I thought it might be one step too far,” said Anderson.
“It was pretty nervy stuff towards the end of the game.”
The home side needed just two points from their match against Steeton, whose league placing was already settled, but the outcome was far from a foregone conclusion.
Anderson said: “We would have wanted to bat second really, but that’s not how it turned out. We batted first and got a lot fewer runs than we’d hoped.
“I was a little bit surprised, because Steeton were really up for the game – they bowled really well and ran through our top order.”
Anderson (31) and Oliver Hardaker (48) stabilised the situation – “just about” – before a late rally from the lower order, but Steeton still held Collingham to just 143 runs, putting the match and the title in doubt.
It was then that former captain Toby Jacklin went to work on Steeton’s batsmen, taking six for 37.
“He’s been doing that all year – in fact for the whole time he’s played for the club,” said Anderson.
“He’s one of the best players ever to play for Collingham.”
Nevertheless, Steeton’s David Wildsmith hit 55 and Collingham came within just a few runs of being overhauled.
It took a match-winning ball from Steve Booth to put an end to Steeton’s innings, on 137, and finally produce the result Collingham needed.
Anderson said: “We didn’t have any right to win it really, but we did and it feels fantastic.”
He added: “I’ve got very strong links to the club, so this means a lot. It’s been a long time coming.”
The win put Collingham seven points clear at the top, with Burley runners-up. At the bottom, Thackley and Adel will be relegated; Harden and Pool will take their places.
Collingham, who won the Waddilove Cup last month for the first time, last won the league in 2007.
Reflecting on his team’s performance over the season, Anderson said: “Our overseas player, Matt Fielding [from New Zealand], deserves a special mention.
“You never know what you’re going to get with overseas players, but he’s won us games with both bat and ball. He’s been a real stand-out player.
“Also, Steve Booth, our chairman, played for us in all our cup games and our last league games.He took the final wicket on Saturday, so it was a really fitting end to the match and the season.”
In Division Two, Bardsey finished ninth, having lost by nine wickets to Pool, who gain promotion as runners-up.