SKIPPER Andy Bartley has been feeling the pressure from Rishton all the way to Russia before his side finally clinched their first Lancashire League title since 1996.
The 31-year-old captain has been working abroad in the last few weeks and missed some of the run-in as his side tried to hold off the challenge of Rawtenstall for the last month.
And he admitted it had been a stressful time for him before they finally got their hands on the trophy on Sunday, after sealing the crown on Saturday.
"I was the saddest man in Russia when we got a text saying Church had beaten us a couple of weeks ago," said the skipper, who was part of the Rishton team who last won the league 11 years ago when South African pace bowler Allan Donald led them to success.
"Rawtenstall have certainly given me a few sleepless nights as they have been fantastic this season.
"But we have done it and no one really expected us to win the league and we are all proud. It is an honour and a privilege to captain this club.
"It is just an unbelievable feeling. I won it in 1996 but this is a lot better. Then I was just a young lad and I just put the gloves on and that was it.
"Then there were big characters at the club like John Davies, John Wharton and Russ Whalley.
"To win it as captain means so much more, especially in front of all our home supporters."
Going into the weekend, Rishton needed four points and they clinched it by taking eight wickets against Lowerhouse on Saturday - to avoid facing an all-or-nothing clash with main rivals Rawtenstall on the final game of the league season on Sunday.
"We just all went mad," said the captain, with both games at Blackburn Road. "There was a big crowd here.
"It was just such a relief as the last few weeks have been hard. We had a little wobble and Rawtenstall have put a run together of 10 straight wins to give us a tough time but we finished top and deserved to.
"At the start of the season, no one expected this happen, even us if I am honest.
"We are probably not the best team on paper but we have grown together and are all Rishton lads.
"We have got through some tough games this season.
"We have won games which could have gone either way and they have proved pivotal. And once you start winning matches, it is a habit.
"The pro is a bit sad because he finished 11 runs off 1000 for the season but he has set such high standards and he will come back next year and hopefully do it then."
The paid man Anwar Saeed Junior, 28, is ready to return and hopes he can make it a double title win for the champions next season.
"I am definitely coming back and I want to defend it and I hope we can," said the Pakistan all-rounder. "When I came here, people always expect things but I never thought we could win the championship even though it is always an aim.
"But we have turned in some good performances and kept working hard. It was hard towards the end of the season as Rawtenstall were doing so well but I am glad it didn't come down to Sunday's game.
"I am relieved it is all over now but it means such a lot for me to win the title. Saturday was a good game and we were all really up for it."
That's when they came up against Lowerhouse needing just four points to seal the title and rewrite the Rishton history books.
Anwar again made a big contribution scoring 78 in 86 balls as he looked to reach 1000 runs and then took five wickets as Lowerhouse finished 36 runs short. The celebrations began on and off the pitch as 11 years of waiting finally came to an end.
It meant their game against in-form Rawtenstall - who have launched a stunning revival after being near the bottom in June - was just a showpiece and it was Andrew Payne's side who ended their season on a high.
They made 161 on a tough wicket with Anwar and John Seedle - another 1996 winner- taking four wickets each.
The first two Rishton wickets fell quickly and third man Anwar was desperate for his target of runs but his opposite number Sanjay Bangar got the better of him leaving him on 989 league runs for the campaign. He also took 80 wickets.
Others chipped in to make the score more respectable but it didn't really matter for Rishton as the party began straight after the game with champagne on the balcony before the formal presentation of the trophy.
"I still can't believe we have done it," added a delighted Bartley.
For the three other Hyndburn sides, it has been a season to largely forget although Enfield did pick up a trophy, winning the 20/20 final against Haslingden.
They finished in eighth place after being one-time title challengers, ending their campaign with a comfortable win over Colne followed by a defeat to Bacup. And Bernard Reidy just missed out on the top amateur bowler award as he took 56 wickets but Rawtenstall's Keith Roscoe pipped him with 58 on the final day.
It was a sad time at Church with paid man Ruvin Peiris playing his last game after four years with the club and skipper Phil Sykes standing down after six successive years at the helm.
Three years ago, Church won the Hollands Cup as the league's runners-up but this season has been a struggle and they finished third from bottom.
It was still a good campaign for young bowler Andy Bentley, however, who took 52 wickets for the season - the first time he had got over 50 - and now he has 200 in his career.
Peiris did finish with a flurry with 129 on Saturday to make it 767 runs for the season - the paid man holds the Blackburn Road club record with 1295 in 2004 - as they easily beat Todmorden but then they slipped to defeat at Lowerhouse on Sunday.
ACCRINGTON finished in bottom spot but prolific bowler David Ormerod will be expecting better things next season as he takes charge of his side for the full campaign. They lost both their games against Nelson and Ramsbottom as pro Nishit Shetty left after two years at Thorneyholme Road.