SECURING the North West Counties League First Division South title has left Rylands player/co-manager Stuart Wellstead “lost for words.”

Despite receiving confirmation of a three-point deduction for fielding an ineligible player 24 hours earlier, Blues wrapped up promotion to the Premier Division with a 5-0 win at Stone Old Alleynians on Saturday.

They then received the trophy at Gorsey Lane on Easter Monday after thrashing Maine Road 4-0.

It was perhaps fitting that Blues wrapped up the title in goal-scoring fashion given they have scored an incredible 109 times in 39 games.

Wellstead, who scored 23 of them himself, missed Saturday’s momentous occasion as he was attending a wedding but was part of Monday’s celebrations.

He won the Premier Division title with Runcorn Linnets last season but he says this success in his first year in management may just better it.

“It took us a couple of months for us to really think we might be right up there,” he said.

“We’ve strengthened throughout the season and the lads we’ve brought in have taken us to that next level.

“We played Wythenshaw Town at home and beat them 3-0 and then beat Wythenshawe Amateurs 5-1 the week after that – they were our two biggest rivals.

“At that point, we thought were going to be there or thereabouts.

“We’ve done really, really well. It’s difficult to put into words how special it is, really.

“I won the Counties Premier with Linnets last year, so to have back-to-back titles is unbelievable but having this first one in player-management leaves me a bit lost for words.”

Wellstead picks the team alongside fellow co-boss Dave McNabb and together they have overseen just six league defeats all season.

Warrington Guardian:

From left, coach Fraser Ablett and co-managers Dave McNabb and Stuart Wellstead. Picture by Lee Wolstencroft

“To have done it with a good friend like Dave by my side makes it even more enjoyable,” he said.

“We’re on the phone to each other 24/7. We’ve put a lot of hard work into it.

“I missed the game we won the league because I was at a wedding. That was really hard for me but to get the trophy on Monday made up for it.”

This was Blues’ first full season under the ownership of sports agent Paul Stretford – a former Rylands player whose clients include former England skipper Wayne Rooney, who tweeted his congratulations to the team on Saturday.

> Wayne Rooney congratulates Rylands on league title win

Given his experience at the level his side will be joining, Wellstead is well-placed to determine how they may fare.

“We’ll strengthen a bit and we hear there could be three – possibly four – promotion places next year,” he said.

“You want to be going for one of those. We’ve got nothing to lose.

“It’s a much tougher league than the one we’ve been playing in so we’ll have to be realistic.

“We’ll try and get a bit of a run going at the start and see where it takes us.”

Rylands wrap up a memorable season by welcoming Sandbach United to Gorsey Lane on Saturday, kick off 3pm.