Diamonds are crowned UCL champions

Andy Peaks' AFC Rushden & Diamonds side have been crowned champions of the UCL Premier Division
Andy Peaks' AFC Rushden & Diamonds side have been crowned champions of the UCL Premier Division

AFC Rushden & Diamonds have been crowned champions of the ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League Premier Division.

Needing just a point to be certain of the title, Diamonds made no mistake as they completed the inevitable in emphatic style with a 4-1 success at Sileby Rangers.

With a second promotion in three seasons already in the bag, boss Andy Peaks had called on his players to finish the job by claiming the crown.

The foundations were laid for that with a 7-0 drubbing of Wellingborough Town at the weekend and the job was finished in style at Fernie Fields.

There’s no doubt the fans-owned club are worthy champions.

They battled away for a long time with Holbeach United and then Wisbech Town but always seemed to have the edge throughout the season before pulling away when it mattered the most.

And for boss Peaks, who was with the original Rushden & Diamonds when it was first formed back in 1992, securing the title was the cherry on top of a very tasty cake.

“I am absolutely delighted,” the Diamonds manager said.

“We set out our stall at the start of the season to do this and we have done it with two games to go so we are very happy.

“We have been fit, we have been organised and we have worked hard each other. There has been a lot of belief as well.

“Let’s be honest, we have some good players as well, which obviously helps.

“The club is going back in the right direction and I am chuffed for the supporters and everyone behind the scenes.”

As far as the game was concerned, Diamonds took a while to get into their stride.

But they took the lead six minutes before half-time when Tommy Berwick dispossessed a home defender and unselfishly rolled the ball to Scott Joseph who slotted home.

It was one-way traffic after the break, however. Matt Gearing fired in the second when he was teed up by Berwick after a goalmouth scramble.

Gearing then won and scored a penalty after a clear handball in the area before Joseph rounded things off with the goal of the game as he cut in from the left and curled home a wonderful strike into the far corner.

Sileby substitute Gokhan Ulker pulled one back with an decent strike of his own in the dying seconds.

But that was as good as it got for the hosts as the final whistle ensured the celebrations could begin for Diamonds’ players and fans alike.

On the game, Peaks added: “I didn’t think we started very well but we grew into it.

“We got a good first goal and then I thought we played some really good stuff on a good pitch in the second half.

“We were well in control and it was a really good performance, just like most of them have been this season.”

Don’t miss more reaction to Diamonds’ title success and more United Counties League news in Thursday’s Northamptonshire Telegraph