Lisburn captain Adam Berry admitted that this time last year, following their relegation to Section One, a few players accepted it would not be the worst thing if the club spent a couple of years out of the limelight of the Premier League.
But 12 months on and after 15 wins in the second tier, everyone is looking forward to giving it another go alongside the NCU’s elite.
Once it gets down to game time, people want to play, want to win games, and a by-product of that this year was promotion to the Premier League,” said Berry on Saturday, after a crushing 137 runs victory over Donaghcloney Mill sealed promotion.
“Everyone wants to test themselves playing at the highest level so it’s a brilliant day, The guys have been brilliant all year, they’re a great group of guys, all local with Johnny Waite the only addition and he has been brilliant.”
The one doubt about carrying on next year was experienced campaigner David Simpson but Lisburn’s leading wicket-taker and second highest run-scorer – behind Berry – confirmed he will be back, although his captain had never any doubts.
“I’ll persuade him but he gets better with age but everybody has contributed in different games, it’s been a great squad effort all year,” added Berry.
“We were missing three guys today but the next man up, Richard Booth, came in and took three wickets. It’s good to give something back to the club after last year, great to bounce back and just shows the character of the group
“We will need a professional in the Premier League and hopefully he will look after the youth coaching as well, because we want to take young guys through. But everyone’s looking forward to playing in the Premier League again.”
Donaghcloney Mill were also able to celebrate at Wallace Park on Saturday, some 20 minutes after the end of the match – their survival in Section One.
Bangor’s last-over victory at Lurgan, by three wickets, left the famous Pollock Park club in ninth place and relegated to the third tier for the first time due to a inferior run-rate, while Laurelvale, seemingly resigned to their fate, were bowled out for 44 by Downpatrick at The Meadow and finished bottom.
There was no play on the final day of the Premier League season with both scheduled games washed out.
Waringstown and Muckamore did manage to play twice, against each other, at Moylena and after the home team won the first match by seven wickets, Waringstown stormed back to bowl out Muckamore for 51 and their 10 wickets win confirmed they finished second, behind champions CIYMS.
The final winning margin was an emphatic 20 points (five wins).