Ardmore may have secured a historic first Premier title, but they were made to fight all the way by Fox Lodge, who came within 12 runs of being party poopers. Coleraine’s win at St Johnston and Eglinton’s point at Newbuildings had sealed their fate, but despite being relegated, they battled Ardmore all the way, with Jason Milligan’s 94 caused more than a few nervous moments in the Bleachgreen camp.

However, after the dust has settled, their ninth place finish means they won’t be in the top flight in 2024, a far cry from the highs of last year when they hoped a first Senior Cup triumph would provide the launchpad for more silverware.

“It’s been a disappointing season dropping down into the Championship, which is not really where we want to be,” skipper Aaron Heywood told The Chronicle. “But at the end of the season the league table never lies, so unfortunately for us that’s where we find ourselves.

“It was a season of two halves, and up until the weather broke we were doing things really well, playing some good cricket and well placed in the top half of the table. That break of six weeks without cricket really killed us, as it took all our momentum away and we never really recovered after that.

“We only really have ourselves to blame as we took our foot off the gas at training and that replicated itself going into matches. The break came at a good time for some teams who were struggling and allowed them to regroup but for us it couldn’t have come at a worse time for us.

“We have been here before and the last time we used our time in the Championship wisely, blooding younger players like Adam Walker, Jamie McIntyre and myself, so we can concentrate a little bit more on development that will help us in the longer term.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom throughout the season for the club reaching the semi-final of the cup, as well as beating Brigade, Eglinton, Donemana and Coleraine. Jonny Robinson and the skipper himself figured prominently in the bowling averages, while the explosive Travis Nicholl played some exhilarating innings.

If they can keep the nucleus of the squad then it won’t be long before they are back in the top echelons of North West cricket.