AT the start of the 2019-20 campaign, many had Berry-Shoalhaven Heads, a perennial powerhouse of the Shoalhaven District Cricket Association competition, pegged for a rebuilding season.
Or as first grade skipper David Crapp said 'wooden spoon favourites'.
"After a couple of seasons of not captaining the side, I was excited to be back in the role, as a way to lead by example and nurture the young talent at the club," Crapp said.
"During the pre-season, everyone was saying we were going to get the wooden spoon.
"And despite us still chasing bowlers until a couple of days before the first game, I had faith our young squad would be competitive - especially once Harrison and Jacob Temple committed tot he club.
"This gave us a well-rounded squad going into our first game of the season."
Although he was quietly confident going into their season opener against Shoalhaven Ex-Servicemens, Crapp explained victory in that match set up his side for the rest of the season.
"In that first game, we could have easily been rolled by 90-odd but a courageous 53-run last-wicket stand by Charlie Howard (25) and Tom Fletcher (20 not out), to help us get to 133," Crapp said.
"That stand proved the difference, as we bowled Ex-Servos out for 109.
"It was at that moment, I thought to myself that we are going to surprise some teams this season.
"It was also a reminder to all the established guys in the team of what you can achieve if you commit to training each week.
"From there, everything went relatively smoothly."
A lot of that smooth sailing had to do with Crapp's relationship with club coach Chris McCarron.
"During the week, I just let Chris, who has a wealth of knowledge, do his thing before I took the reigns of the first grade boys on weekends - I thought it worked really well," he said.
All the players fed off this harmonious nature, gradually building their confidence and producing career-best seasons.
"I knew we were probably a bowler short, as I couldn't roll the arm over anymore with my knee," Crapp said.
"I noticed Dale Lovatt, who's only bowled a handful of overs the past few seasons, sending down some nice outswingers in the nets and I thought I'd give him a go in the game.
"After being thrown the new ball, for probably the first time in his life, his confidence went through the roof and he really developed as a bowler - creating a nice partnership with the Temple brothers.
"Confidence is so big in cricket - I can remember when I went down to Victoria and I couldn't make a run for the life of me.
"But I found some form with the ball and the rest of my game followed.
"Dale was just one of the local juniors gained confidence each week for us and was able to step up in the pressure situations this season."
Comparatively to former 'superstar' teams Crapp has played with at the Magpies, he admitted this side was a team where everyone contributed and played their role.
"When three of your top four batsmen (Nathan Thomas - 35.43, Crapp - 34.88 and Jarrod Mitchell - 30.89) average more than 30, it lays a strong platform for your side," he said.
"It just optimised how everyone did there bit and we weren't reliant on a couple of superstars to get us home - it was the first time I'd played in a successful Berry side like this."
On the back of this 'team-first' mentality, the Magpies won all three first grade premierships on offer.
"There's always the mentality of getting your points early at Berry and we were once again rewarded for that during this unique season," Crapp said.
"To be honest, any side could have won the three titles this season.
"At the start of the season, I would have been happy with one premiership, let alone three - I'm over the moon with our return."
This takes Crapp's two-day premiership tally to nine with Berry, with his first coming during the 1994-95 season.
"It's hard to compare this two-day title to previous eight, as there were such unusual circumstances this season," he said.
"Even as winners, it's hard not to think about the people who have lost their lives and houses over the past few months in Australia and around the world.
"Don't get me wrong, there's a real sense of satisfaction that this group has been rewarded for their commitment to the club and every premiership is special in its own way."
This title represents the first time Crapp, 51, has played alongside his son Callum in first grade.
"Any father will say there's no better feeling running onto the field and celebrating a win alongside your son," Crapp, who started playing in the SDCA as a 29-year-old, said.
"I also love the banter between us two - the adrenaline inspires me to keep wanting to play and hold on to this feeling for as long as possible."
It's because of this that Crapp believes he will play again in 2020-21, especially if the first grade boys want him to.
"Although we won this year, there's also that empty feeling of how the season ended," he said.
"I do know that age is starting to catch up with me - I got hit in the head for the first time since I was 15 while batting this season, made worse by the fact I never wear a helmet.
"I, unfortunately, didn't get another chance to bat after that and there's a part of me that wants to get passed that mental barrier of proving I can still bat and play at this level."
But when Crapp does decide to retire, he knows the club is in a strong position moving forward, shown my them taking home the club championship.
"To win the club championship with only three teams is massive," he said.
"We just couldn't get a fourth team together this season, as the players would have been too young and we could have potentially lost them to the sport if they were subjected to too much losing.
"But with a great group of young talent coming through, we should have four teams again next year, which will set us up for more success in the future."
During his career, Crapp, who has now won 10 one-day crowns with Berry, has numerous accolades to his name.
They include (courtesy of Alan Clark);
- a high score of 210 not out against Shoalhaven Ex-Servicemens in 1998-99 (during his 21st game for the club).
- in the same fixture Crapp and Brian Gray (120 not out) put in 346 for the third wicket - the second highest known partnership in SDCA first grade.
- Crapp's eight centuries with Berry have been bettered only by Trent Boundy (11) and Athol Agar (nine).
- his more than 6000 first grade runs has been achieved by fewer than 15 batsmen in the SDCA's 128-year history.
- in 2010-11, he achieved the allrounder's double against Ulladulla United when he scored 58 and took 5/61.
- as wicketkeeper in 2012-13, he took five catches in an innings against Norths. He has taken more than 100 catches with the side, as well as more than 100 wickets.
- playing with Western NSW against the Indian under 19s at Orange in 1986-87, he opened the innings and made equal top score of 55 and featured in a second wicket partnership of 108. The attack included two future Indian Test players in Narendra Hirwani and Venkatapathy Raju who both sent down 11 overs without success.