WOODHOUSE GRANGE skipper Steve Burdett admits he wondered whether his side could ever emulate the great teams that have won the York & District Senior League four years in a row.
The Sutton-on-Derwent outfit won the premier division for a fourth successive year with a four wicket victory over York last weekend - a feat unmatched since the league was reorganised in following the 1997 season.
It is now two and a half years since Grange last suffered a league loss, says Burdett, and the man who has picked up the trophy once again declared the club's success as a "wonderful achievement".
"It is huge," he said. "For me, it was a personal goal. Lord's is a lovely bonus (Grange play in the National Village Cup final on Sunday) and credit to Nick (Hadfield, Village Cup skipper) for that.
"It has been two and a half years since we were beaten in the league and now we have won four titles on the bounce. I didn't think four would ever be emulated. The standard of our league is so high, it is a wonderful achievement and that goes through the whole club. We have continually developed.
"If you look at the side four years ago, Nick, Mike Burdett and myself were the mainstays of the side. Now it is the likes of Tom Young, Chris and Andrew Bilton, Mike Hattee and so on.
"They are contributing every single week. Week in and week out it is different people scoring runs or getting wickets. It's from top to bottom and you can't pick out two or three players.
"That is a testament to the club about how we have looked to develop."
With moves to restructure Yorkshire cricket now being discussed, and proposals that could see aspiring clubs such as Woodhouse given the chance to join a county premier division, it is not yet clear how many more titles Grange could win at Senior League level.
"It's a little bit up in the air with what's going to happen in the league next year," Burdett said. "We have to look at moving forward as a club. The Senior League committee does a wonderful job to improve the content and quality of cricket we play. If there is a change, it will be a change for the good.
"For me, the league is the most important competition you play in. League cricket is what you are judged on and the table doesn't lie. The most consistent sides finish at the top. Four years on the bounce is as good an achievement as I can ever think of for the club."