AGONY turned to ecstasy for Burnham Sports as a controversial 30-point penalty could not prevent the club gaining promotion to the T.Rippon League Premier Division.

Sports thought they had been promoted a fortnight earlier but, in a dramatic twist, learnt the night before their final game – against Rayleigh on Saturday – that they had fallen foul of rules relating to the award of sportsmanship marks to opponents.

The League alleged that Sports broke the rules on three occasions, one of the offences dating back more than a month.

Their belated 30-point punishment opened the door for Rettendon and Rayleigh to overhaul them.

Despite feeling a mix of anger and confusion, Burnham responded by overcoming a terrible start to thrash Rayleigh by 110 runs.

Rettendon also won, but ended the campaign two points adrift of them.

“It was an uncomfortable 24 hours and, had it come to it, we would have appealed the disciplinary action taken against us,” Andy Stephens, the long-time Burnham bowler said.

“It seems we may have taken our eye off the ball but, equally, the League gave us no indication we had transgressed once – let alone three times – until it was almost too late.

“Thankfully, we were able to celebrate winning promotion for a second time but it was only in the evening that we learnt we had done enough. There was a scenario where we could have won and still not gone up because of the number of bonus points available.”