FOR HANGING HEATON, top-flight glory had been a fair while between drinks.
The wait is now over for all and sundry at Bennett Lane, with the Tewits getting their hands on the trophy that they have craved like no other for a number of years in the shape of the ECB Bradford Premier League championship.
Saturday proved a momentuous occasion as Gary Fellows’ side finished off the job by vanquishing relegation-threatened East Bierley to claim their first title since 1999.
Fittingly, the Tewits did it in style by virtue of a handsome 219-run success in keeping with an outstanding season which has seen them excel with both bat and ball.
For cricket chairman John Carruthers, Saturday represented the end of a journey, while being the first to admit that a wait of 18 years between championships has been too long for a club of Heaton’s stature.
Carruthers said: “It was that pinnacle that we wanted to achieve.
“One hundred per cent, it has been too long. We slipped off the map a little bit and Hanging Heaton should never do that as a club.
“I came back in 2010 and we were in the second division after getting relegated in 2009. In all honesty, it is such a quick turnaround after being relegated in 2009 to winning it eight years later.”
Few would begrudge Heaton of the championship, in a line-up which has seen captain Gary Fellows and the prolific Nick Connolly lead the way in terms of runs and overseas spinner Muhammed Rameez excel with the ball.
And it was apt that all three came to the party on Saturday.
Fellows and Connolly put on an outstanding 183 runs for the first wicket, with the latter blazing a trail with a supreme innings of 134 – which took his seasonal runs tally to 1,165 after his fifth century of a run-laden year.
Fellows (90) was not far behind as Heaton totalled an imposing 298-7.
It was always likely to prove too hefty for Bierley and so it proved with the visitors dismissed for 79, with Rameez taking a fine 5-20, with Tom Chippendale bagging 3-29.
Carruthers added: “We have been very consistent and had some really convincing victories. You cannot take away from what we have done at the top of the order with 2,000 league runs between them and the bowling has supported that.
“We have been incredibly well balanced. The overseas (Rameez) has been here for a second year and it is important to get that first year out of the way and bringing in Callum (Geldart) has balanced us out a little bit more. It has just worked to plan and been perfect.
“You also cannot take away the leadership of Gary Fellows, who leads from the front and he is right up there in terms of league quality.”
The title success also means that Heaton have booked a berth in the Yorkshire Club Championship semi-finals at Scarborough on September 16 where they are likely to face either York or Stamford Bridge from the Yorkshire Premier League North.
Newly-crowned Yorkshire Premier League South champions Wakefield Thornes will face a side from the North Yorkshire and South Durham Premier League in the other semi.
The final takes place at Headingley.
Second-placed Farsley suffered a five-wicket reverse at Woodlands, who could yet pip them for the runners-up spot.
Game star for Woodlands was Alex Atkinson, who came up with a good time to register his first century of the season – hitting a fine unbeaten 110 to see the hosts home with just over 11 overs left.
Opening, Farsley totalled 241-9 with captain Ryan Cooper (77) top-scoring, with Elliot Richardson pocketing 6-53 for the hosts.
But Atkinson’s contribution proved key with Woodlands now just 12 points behind Farsley, heading into the final weekend of the season.