CRAIG Phelan has urged his Oakmere side to go on and claim the title after they made sure of promotion.

The Northwich side guaranteed they will return to the Cheshire League’s top-flight after four years away when they beat closest-rivals Stockport Trinity by 75 runs at Overdale Lane last weekend.

It is a 15th win in 18 Division Two matches.

“We’ve achieved what we set out to,” said the first-team captain.

“However it would take some of the shine off if we don’t win the league from this position!”

Oakmere’s lead is worth 75 points with four matches left.

They host Irby on tomorrow.

Phelan told the Guardian he did not want standards to slip, particularly as good habits had started to be formed last season.

His side finished sixth, although a run of 10 wins in 11 games – the other was called off – gave an indication of their potential before injuries took their toll.

“I felt we were one of the strongest sides in the division last year,” he added.

“It just wasn’t to be.

“However what it did mean is we could set our sights on going up this time around.

“It’s massive for the club to be returning to Division One, and it’s a target that I set along with vice-captain Daniel Faulkner when we took over.”

He said a change in outlook, which includes hiring a coach, had made the biggest difference.

Batsman Slade Mitrovich, their overseas signing from South Africa, has led the way at the crease and has amassed close to 850 runs in league games.

However a collective effort in the field – three bowlers have more than 35 wickets each while Phelan has 24 – has been the perfect complement.

In-form Matt Norton’s third five-fer of the campaign last weekend provides proof of that.

It helped dismiss Stockport for 119 after Oakmere had put 194-8 on the board.

“Slade has been a big asset to us but it’s unfair to slate us as a one-man team,” said Phelan.

“It’s not just about his runs; he’s given the other guys confidence to go out and play their game.

“I’ve complete faith in our bowlers – after all, it’s those lads that win you games – and they’ve delivered for us time and again.

“We’ve worked hard on our fielding, and I think that’s an area where there’s been the biggest improvement.

“Everybody has to contribute for that to happen, whether that’s doing drills during the week or warming up in the right way on a Saturday, and it’s one of the things I’m most proud of.”