After 18 games and four months of competition, it all came down to a nervous 10-minute wait until Beddington knew they had avoided relegation from the Premier Division of the Surrey Championship.

Ryan Cummins’ side began the final day of competition in the dropzone, five points behind Valley End and safety.

They had to beat already-relegated Leatherhead and hope Valley End got nothing out of a trip to Reigate Priory.

Beddington kept to their side of the bargain with a comfortable 76-run win over, but the action at Reigate Priory was going down to the wire.

Cummins said: “We were following the Valley End updates on the internet, and they needed 10 off the last over to win – we were sat in the dressing room thinking ‘This is going to be close’.

“Then it was eight off five, then eight off four, and finally they needed six off the last ball, and we were thinking ‘Oh god, they should not get that’.

“But then there was a 10-minute delay before the final result came it. We did not know what was happening. There was a lot of tension.”

The great escape is all the more remarkable given Beddington won their final three games having lost the previous five.

Going into the run of wins, Beddington were 21 points behind Valley End – who will point to losing points from an abandoned penultimate game as significant – only to finish nine points clear.

Cummins added: “We have struggled with availability, as have most sides from further down the leagues – you don’t have the same strength in depth as the likes of Reigate or Wimbledon. If there is a wedding or stag, you can lose up to three or four of your team.

“So we had a weak mid-part of the season, then in the last part we very nearly beat Normandy, and in the last three games we beat Sutton and Weybridge, who ended up third and sixth, which was a great achievement.

“When our survival was confirmed, there was an out-pouring of congratulations from other clubs, not just in the Premier Division.

Sutton Guardian:

Big hitter: Antony Down en route to 854 runs for the season, including an unbeaten 82 in the crucial final day win over Leatherhead

“It was a humbling experience when I personally got texts and messages, it was something I did not expect.”

Cummins is already turning his attention to next season in the hope of avoiding more final day drama.

He said: “Recruitment is key thing to strengthen internally. We probably need a couple of batsmen and another bowler or two.

“It just means that when guys are missing, our squad is deeper and hopefully we can compete more.”

Cummins, who hailed the season-long performances of Tom Bevan, Antony Down and Kyle Moolman, added: “Hopefully the balance of the current crop, the young players coming through and a few new faces, will strengthen things so it won’t all be about the great escape next season – we’ll take mid-table mediocrity.”

As for Cummins' own form last season, he picked up 43 league wickets at an average of 17.70, including life-time best figures of 8-94 - placing him second in the top ranked bowlers for the season, behind Vignesh Venkateswaran of Normandy.

Cummins said: "Because of injuries to other bowlers I had to bowl a bit more than I would have liked.

"I knocked over a lot of the top order from other sides, which was quite crucial at times – people nicked them, sometimes they missed, sometimes they didn't.

"To finish second in the Premier Division is a nice feeling, but there have been no great changes, I have just been trying to bowl straight."