They’ve done it – and with a week to spare!
Hanging Heaton skipper Gary Fellows lifted the Bradford League Premier Division trophy after an emphatic 219-run win over relegation-threatened East Bierley.
It is 18 years since their last title, but having recovered from the ignominy of relegation in 2009, under the guidance of cricket chairman John Carruthers, Hanging Heaton have slowly restructured and rebuilt.
It was an early return to the top flight in 2010, with the Second Division title, and the steady improvement was given a further boost with the acquisition of former Pudsey St Lawrence and Yorkshire all-rounder Fellows, from the then CYL champions Wrenthorpe, in 2013.
Fellows made his first-class debut as a teenager playing for Matebeleland.
But a game for Yorkshire against a touring India A side in 2003, just before his 25th birthday, was his last.
In that last game he scored a handful of runs and claimed the wicket of former Indian spinner Murali Kartik, but it was the end of a career that had brought him over 1,500 runs, including one century, and 32 wickets.
However, it is as a top-class league cricketer he has really made his name.
In his five years at Bennett Lane he has proved to be a key piece of the jigsaw with runs, wickets and, most importantly, his captaincy.
Having finished runners-up last season, his 860 runs to date make him this season’s second-highest Premier Division run-scorer.
He is only 97 runs short of joining the select band of players to score 10,000 Bradford League runs.
Going into the final game of the season at his old club Pudsey St Lawrence tomorrow, Fellows needs 140 to join opening partner Nick Connolly on the 1,000-run mark for the season and become part of the first duo to pass that landmark in the same season in the league’s 114-year history.
After the win over Bierley, a proud Fellows told the Bradford League’s Alan Birkinshaw: “I have played for 15 years in the Bradford League in my two spells and this is the first time I have been in a league-winning side.
“In fact, not one member of our side has been in a championshipwinning team. It is a proud moment for us and for the club.
“We have been close in recent years but now we have gone on to win the title. It is a reward for all the hard work that has been done on, and off, the field.”