EDENFIELD are finally walking down the aisle after winning promotion to next season’s Championship Division in the newly restructured GMCL.

In two of the last three seasons in Division Two and Two B, they have narrowly missed out on a top-two finish, with last year seeing them finish third: “The bridesmaid’s position,” according to captain Adam Barnes.

On Saturday, they finally put that frustration to bed by hammering Stretford in a reduced-overs game, while leaders Friarmere beating third-placed South West Manchester sealed the deal.

It means, with two rounds remaining, Barnes and Co cannot be caught.

“The aim was top two, and to do it with a couple of games to spare, I’m really happy,” said the in-form batting skipper.

“I’m really happy for the club and all the boys.

“We knew it was going to be an important weekend. It was first versus third and second versus fourth. Four good teams in action.

“So to do it in a convincing way was great.”

Rain immediately reduced the game to a 40-overs per side contest and again to 32-overs with another afternoon interruption.

Barnes (42) shared 79 with opener and professional Paul Gallagher, who anchored their 168-6 with a measured unbeaten 80 off 92 balls.

In reply, the wickets were shared around as Stretford were skittled for just 85 inside 24 overs, a 106-run margin on Duckworth-Lewis-Stern.

“They won the toss, which could have been important,” said Barnes. “But we went out there knowing we could lose a few overs to weather and tried to be aggressive.

“Paul batted superbly and showed his class.”

Barnes is the division’s second leading runs-scorer with 661 at an average of 73.44.

But, as any good captain would, he preferred to praise a team effort throughout 2019.

He said: “Although it’s been great to contribute, I would genuinely give up all my runs to make sure we’re in the position we are.

“I know there’s been some individual performances this year, but it really has been a team effort. It’s exactly what we deserve.

“I recently saw a list of the teams we will be playing next year, and some of those we’ve played before and beaten. So I’m confident we’ll compete in the Championship.

“We have a good group of 15 or 16 who can all contribute, and we’re not short in any department.

“We’ve re-signed Paul as pro for two years. He’s been excellent this year (570 runs and 37 wickets in the league).

“If we do get one or two more players in, fantastic. If we don’t, I’d still be happy going in with the squad we have.

“There’s some exciting talent in the seconds. I don’t want to jinx them, but they look like they’ll finish second in their league. It’s exciting times.”

Edenfield are eight points behind leaders Friarmere with 12 available, so the title race is not over.

Barnes, a Manchester City football fan, also revealed Edenfield’s success was the perfect end to what has been a horrendous week for many connected with the club who support Bury.

“It’s a tragedy what’s happened,” he added.

“Our chairman, Chris (Hanson), is a diehard Bury fan, our vice chairman is too and some of the lads.

"It’s taken us a long time to achieve promotion, so this has lifted the chairman especially.”