DARWEN have completed their Lancashire League collection after being crowned champions for the first time in the club’s history.

The Towers have won everything there is to win since joining the league in 2017 but captain Scott Friend said the title is the best of the lot.

Having twice won the Worsley Cup and also winning the T20 competition - as well as being crowned Lancashire Knockout Cup champions - it proved to be third time lucky for Darwen having previously finished as runners-up on two occasions.

“We have been lucky enough to have won a lot of trophies since we joined the league but this is the one we all wanted,” said Friend after Darwen’s 13-run win at Greenmount clinched the title.

“When we won the Lancashire Knockout, we thought that was the best but this tops that, especially having twice come so close to winning it.”

While Friend say the title success has been a team effort, they were thankful to stand-in professional Sunit Bisht who hit a brilliant 159 in Darwen’s 289-9 total.

Greenmount, struggling at the wrong end of the table, gave it a good go but thanks to another ‘five-for’ from Dave Bowden (5-52), the hosts came up just short. “Whatever team we have picked this season, we have got 11 very talented players out there,” he said. “Our batting hasn’t been that great in the last couple games so we were thankful to Sunit who played brilliantly.”

Darwen’s title success was built on a superb 13-game winning run which was ended with a home defeat to Lowerhouse last weekend - a defeat that denied them the chance to be crowned champions in front of their own supporters.

“I suppose that is the one disappointment,” said Friend. “That would have been the fairytale ending, winning the title on a Bank Holiday weekend in front of your own fans. But it wasn’t to be and Lowerhouse proved that there are no easy games in this division.

“We went on a great winning run and we knew it had to come to an end at some stage, it was just a shame it was last weekend. But we have got over the line now.”

Friend said the title - the club’s first since winning the Northern League in 2003 - was as much for the club members and supporters as it was for the players on the pitch.

“This is very family-orientated club and the win is special for everyone, perhaps even more so for some people who have been involved at Darwen for many years,” said Friend. “I think our chairman Chris Lowe was in that side that won the Northern League title 20 years ago so I know it meant a lot to him and also to our former chairman Graham Ainslie.”

Friend is proud of Darwen’s achievements since switching from the Northern League having won a trophy every year minus the Covid-hit season.

“Our aim is to win a trophy every year and we have managed that,” he said. “That is a great achievement and that remains the target going forward.”

Darwen will be presented with the trophy after Sunday’s final game of the season at home to Todmorden and Friend wants to end on a winning note.

“We want to end on a high,” he said. “It will be a bit disappointing if we lose then get presented with the trophy. We want to be on top of our game and we owe it to every other team in the division as there is still plenty to play for.”

Clitheroe have been confirmed as runners-up after beating Lowerhouse by 21 runs but failed to pick up the bonus points that would have taken the title race to the final game.

Jack Dewhurst top scored with 84 while sub pro Sonal Dinusha scored 61 and took 4-41.

n Other Division One results: Middleton (8-161) bt Walsden (160 all out) by 2wkts; Rochdale (122-7) bt Todmorden (121ao); Ramsbottom (257-3, Ashen Silva 117no) bt Norden 256-9) by 7wkts; Burnley (247-1, Liam Bedford 132) bt Haslingden (243-6) by 9 wkts.

n Division Two round-up tomorrow.