Elmstead’s victorious captain Aidan O’Brien: ‘I never thought it in a million years’
- Credit: Archant
Elmstead captain, Aidan O’Brien, admitted that he “never thought in a million years” that his side would lift the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship Division One title.
But that fantasy became a reality on Saturday, as the Elmstead Market-based club, who play their home games at Vicarage Meadow, clinched the crown for the first time in their history.
It was an amazing achievement for such a small-sized club, especially coming up against the likes of Wivenhoe, last season’s runners-up, and also Woolpit, relegated from the East Anglian Premier League last season.
“This is the first time we have ever even won three games in Division One, let alone go on and win the title,” enthused O’Brien, Elmstead’s skipper and opening batsmen.
“We have had so many ups and downs between the divisions, in recent years, so much so that we were known as the yo-yo club.
“Our main aim this season was to drop that tag, but I never thought in a million years that we might win the whole league!
“It’s not as if we had a whole load of new faces in the squad, following our promotion last season. Instead, we just had a few familiar faces coming back. We were a close-knit group, and we put no pressure on ourselves.”
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Players coming back to the club were the duo of all-rounder Jordan Elliott and wicketkeeper/batsman Ryan Vickery, from Wivenhoe, plus bowler Ashan Athurkoralage from Clacton.
Elmstead eventually limped over the line, after failing to win any of their last four fixtures. An abandoned draw at Braintree on Saturday saw the club get the necessary points to lift the title.
Despite being eligible for promotion to the East Anglian Premier League, the club have decided not to go down that route and will stay in the Two Counties next season.
O’Brien confirmed: “There would be massive financial implications, if the club were to go up, too much for a club of our small size.
“We only have two senior teams, and although our pitch is very good, we need to make improvements. We need an electronic scoreboard, new sightscreens and we are planning to extend our pavilion. We are a project underway, but all of our success has come a bit too quickly!
“I’m sure that a few years down the line, we will be in a position to consider promotion to the EAPL.
“We had a dynamic team, and I think we deserved to win the title, because we won more games than anyone else, and also lost the least number of games,” added O’Brien.