Best chapter so far as Brigstock join the county's elite

The Brigstock players and supporters show their delight after their club were promoted to the NCL Premier Division
The Brigstock players and supporters show their delight after their club were promoted to the NCL Premier Division

The dramatic race for the Division One title took one final twist on the final weekend of the season and it resulted in one of the most unlikely success stories in the history of the Northants Cricket League.

Brigstock, or #littleoldbrigstock as some of their players have been describing themselves on social media since Saturday, will be mixing it with the elite of Northamptonshire club cricket in the Premier Division next year.

Going into the final day in second place having been cruelly denied a crucial win over morning leaders Wellingborough Town due to the weather the previous week, Sat Singh’s team were the only side to claim an outright result as the rain came into play once again.

While Wellingborough’s clash with Desborough was halted with the hosts at 61-3, chasing 137 for victory, Brigstock did manage to get a full game in at Overstone Park.

And, although they didn’t know it at the time, their 91-run success had completed their long journey into the top flight.

A truly special moment for so many associated with the club, no doubt.

And for one player on the pitch, in particular, it was another incredible chapter in a story that he has played such a huge part in.

For 15 years, Ian Sharp captained the club through different leagues and divisions.

He remains heavily involved as the treasurer and as part of the team who have written their names into the history books.

And Sharp admitted that reaching the top flight hadn’t exactly been part of the grand plan.

“This wasn’t something we had planned for,” he said.

“I was captain for 15 years and during that time we gradually worked our way up the divisions in the Combination, the Alliance and then when we finally joined the County League.

“I think it’s fair to say that we certainly never had a plan to go to the Premier Division.

“The plans we had weren’t necessarily about the standard of cricket, it was about creating somewhere for the local community to play the game and then it was about making the club a bit more sustainable.

“Back in the day it was sometimes difficult to get £5 off people for their match fees to pay for the teas but we’ve changed things since then.

“We have looked at the commercial side of things and we’ve done things like developing our clubhouse into something that can provide a profit for the club.”

All that helped lead to this point in time and, on Saturday, captain Singh struck 49 as Brigstock were bowled out for 187 before overseas star Tashwin Lukas again took control with the ball as his superb spell of 14.3-4-38-7 ensured Overstone were dismissed for 96 in 32 overs.

That, as you would expect, led to a long and lively evening.

“We were obviously disappointed that the weather stopped us when we had Wellingborough 24-9 the previous week,” Sharp said.

“So it was nice to have the weather on our side at the weekend.

“We were not aware of the other results, we were just concentrating on what we had to do. We knew we had to win and that’s all we were looking at.

“It turned out to be an incredible day for everyone. We had a lot of supporters who came over to watch us and everyone came back to Brigstock.

“The celebrations weren’t just for the players. They were for the wives and girlfriends, the families who support the club and, of course, the people who keep it going like the groundsman and the tea ladies.

“So much effort has gone in and it was important for everyone to enjoy it. I think the last people left at around 5am on Sunday morning so it was a decent celebration!”

So what about the future? Can #littleoldbrigstock go and make an impact in the ‘Prem’?

That question will have been answered in 12 months time but, regardless of how next season goes, Sharp firmly believes the club will stick to their “values” and the players who got them there will lead them into the new challenge.

“I think it’s been more of an evolution rather than anything else,” he explained.

“We have young players who are coming to their peak age.

“Most of the players in the team are aged between 18 and 25 and they are getting better.

“This year was a big year for two or three of them and they have gone to a new level.

“And I don’t see there being changes in personnel, we are not a club that actively looks to recruit players each year.

“I think we will stick to our values.

“It is all about Brigstock Cricket Club and it is about the guys who got us there.

“We know that on paper we will be weaker than most teams but going out and changing up our personnel is not our way.

“The players have proved they are good enough to be in the Premier Division because we finished top of Division One and we are already looking forward to the new challenge.”