MIDDLESEX LEAGUE DIVISION TWO Acton 102-9 (42.4 overs) SHEPHERD'S BUSH 106-4 (21.3 overs) Acton 0pts-BUSH 10pts
Shepherd's Bush saved their season by a dramatic 15 minutes - and then set about returning to the Premier League for the first time in 10 years.
The turn of events in Saturday's finale saw Bush fingernails down to the quick as time ran out to start their match.
Had neighbours Acton not generously decided to brave the drizzle at 2.30pm, then Richmond would be champions this morning because league rules insist any game starts by 2.45pm at the latest.
However, the cold and rain were no stop to a Bush side that ended the campaign with the league's best bowler and batsman.
With five points separating the three top sides at the start of play- but only two going up, Bush were heartened by an Acton collapse that reduced the hosts to 70-9.
Amit Suman's sixth five-wicket haul left him just five wickets short of the all-time record in a season.
But he had to make do with a mere 5-39 this time, when a fierce ball ended Acton's stubborn tail-end resistance with their number 11 retiring after a rising ball from Suman cracked his elbow.
Bush were receiving regular reports from the other twogames, and knew they only had 24 overs to gamble in conditions that would have kept county championship players back in the pavilion still huddled around the card table.
But what Suman has been to Bush with the ball this so-called summer, Aussie Robbie Watts has matched it with the bat.
His 54no ended up holding a nervous Bush innings together after three batsmen had gone cheaply.
Captain Ed Reynolds then played a supporting role in the exciting finale. But it was fitting that Watts's final cover drive hit the boundary rope at the same time as his team-mates hit their stride to run on and congratulate him.
Reynolds is confident his team will survive a better standard Premier League next season.
He said: "We look like we'll hang on to Amit and Robbie, and a higher division will attract better players.
"It was winning the last four games that made all the difference to us - that and Acton willing to get out and make a game of it." [25cf] RICHMOND were promoted in second place after their win over Barnes.