YEARS of play-off heartache are now a thing of the past for Woolston Rovers.

Not only have they finally won promotion from National Conference League Division Three, but they have done it as champions.

Wild celebrations followed Saturday’s 28-6 win over Batley Boys at Monk Sports Club as they sealed the league title by finishing a point clear of Hunslet Warriors.

NCL chairman Trevor Hunt was on hand to present the trophy to Rovers co-captains Harry Files and Ryan Brown.

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NCL chairman Trevor Hunt presents the Division Three trophy to Woolston Rovers

Rovers have found their promotion hopes thwarted by play-off defeats in each of the past four seasons and avoiding that route was a big priority for head coach Mal Holt.

However, he admits he never expected to finish top of the pile – an achievement that left him lost for words.

“I am absolutely speechless – the boys have worked so hard since we started pre-season training last November and this is a reward for that,” Holt said.

“It has been a superb season – we have played some brilliant rugby at times and to finish champions of this division where there are so many excellent teams is testament to the lads.

“We set our goal to gain automatic promotion but to actually win it is very special. We didn’t want to go through the heartache of the play offs again.

“It has been a real team effort from everybody within the open age and we can now look forward to plying our trade in Division Two next season.

“This is a very special club with great people behind the scenes and we now want to continue on this upward curve.”

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The celebrations continue for Woolston

Josh Bray opened the scoring for Woolston on Saturday in fine fashion as he raced over the line from 90 metres after being fed by Ben Dixon, who added the conversion.

Dixon then went from provider to scorer after Harry Files stole the ball one-on-one and handed onto the scrum-half for a simple walk-in.

Batley reduced the deficit just before the break through Aaron James' try and Adam Bingham's conversion, but that was as good as it got for the Yorkshiremen.

This visitors had Nathan Willians sin-binned just after the interval and Woolston made the most of their numerical advantage.

Adam Files broke through to score from long range before superb hands across the field ended in James Jones' delightful pass to Danny Griffiths, who held off the cover to cross in the left corner.

Files added his second try with another long-range effort as he brushed off four separate tackles to score between the posts.

“The game was very tough and Batley deserve great credit, but our defence was probably the best I have seen it all season,” Holt said.

“The lads were really up for it. The atmosphere and attitude was right and we were at home in front of a large crowd.

“The celebrations afterwards were unbelievable and well deserved.”

Woolston: Aaron Barber; Callum Moore, Dan Fearnley, Danny Griffiths, Josh Bray; Kieran Moore, Ben Dixon; Sam Roberts, Adam Files, Kieran Sudlow, James Jones, Matt Taylor, Harry Files. Subs: Ryan Brown, Josh Sudlow, Alex Smith, Sean Withington