Barnt Green did their best to give the rest a chance but they kept their nerve when it mattered most to lift the Birmingham League title.
Dog Kennel Lane was still tinged with sadness on Saturday night as the Green's titlewinning five-wicket win over Halesowen sent their Worcestershire neighbours into Division One.
But, after so many nearmisses in recent years, Barnt Green deserve immense credit for finally winning their first Premier Division crown.
They had not won the Birmingham League since becoming the last team to lift the trophy in 1997 before its restructuring. Aafter twice letting it slip away to finish runners-up to Wellington for the last two years, a lack of further league titles was starting to become a bit of an omission from their 'CV'.
Given their recent failings at the final two hurdles in the National Knockout, and the successive defeats that had thrown this title race back open, question marks had certainly been raised. But, when push came to shove, the Green were not found wanting as last month's defeat at Lord's was finally put behind them.
"We got over our little wobbles," team manager Paul Clarke said. "And, in the end, it has to go down as our most memorable season at the club.
"The National Knockout might have given us a bit of glamour but the league's the big one, the one that really matters. And, although it's been a long, hard road, to have won the league and got to the final of the National in the same season has made this a special year."
On the day they surrendered their title to a team with whom they have not always seen eye to eye, reigning champions Wellington suffered a humiliating finalday defeat.
Young Warwickshire paceman Adam Shantry took six for 11 to set up Kenilworth Wardens' nine-wicket win as Wellington were dismissed for only 37 inside 23 overs. But that did not stop their team manager Terry O'Connor surrendering the title with good grace.
"I had a phone call from Terry to congratulate us," Clarke said. "He was most gracious and it was much appreciated."
Knowing that only a win would be good enough to stay up, thanks to Moseley getting enough points from a draw at West Bromwich Dartmouth and Walsall saving themselves by routing Coventry, Richard Cox's Halesowen put up a spirited effort.
But their total of 191 for nine, forged largely by Alistair Maiden (52) and Daryl Mitchell (45), was never enough.
On a slow pitch that negated the pace of Halesowen quickie Imran Ali, Green openers Richard Hall and acting captain Matt Dalloway, deputising for Richard Illingworth, got their side off to a steady start.
They were just short of a century partnership when Dalloway was out for 33. But Hall went on to score 81 as he helped his side home with five wickets and eight overs to spare.
That was enough to claim the title by only seven points from Himley who maintained their winning late-summer form with the seven-wicket win that confirmed Leamington's relegation after only one season in the top flight.
Tim Heap bowled unchanged to take five for 54 and Stuart Wedge took three wickets as Leamington were shot out for only 106. But, despite the loss of three quick wickets to Jason Young, Himley skipper Greg Wright saw his side home with an unbeaten 57, well-supported by Worcestershire old boy Stuart Lampitt's unbeaten 29.
Himley claimed a second runners-up spot in four years, finishing only six points ahead of Old Hill, who won off the final ball against Knowle & Dorridge.
Kevin Bray (72) and captain Chris Howell (58) helped K&D to 256 for nine. But, after Harshad Patel (97) and Attiq-Ur-Rehman (75) had shared a big second-wicket century stand, Riaz Sheikh's 40 helped Old Hill home.
West Bromwich Dartmouth missed out on a top-three finish after being held at home by Moseley.
Navdeep Poonia scored 94 and Moeen Ali 72 as Dartmouth piled up 276 for five. But Moseley, still needing enough points from a draw had Halesowen somehow pulled it round against Barnt Green, were in determined mood.
Nick Warren (60), Wasim Khan (47) and Pete Magafas (40) helped to avoid defeat in a reply of 233 for eight, Naheem Sajjad taking five for 73.
Elliot Wilson (five for 36) and David Follett (three for 31) helped Walsall to a safetysealing seven-wicket win at Coventry.