AT the first time of asking, Haltwhistle Jubilee have gained promotion to Division One of the Northern Alliance.

The league season was declared null and void as a result of play stopping for the coronavirus pandemic, but Division Two favourites Haltwhistle have been given permission to make the step up their performances deserved after a team in the higher division resigned.

With Blyth Spartans Reserves leaving the league, there was a space in Division One to fill and, having led for most of the season and holding the best points per game ratio, Haltwhistle occupied the vacancy and will join Tyne Valley rivals Prudhoe Youth Club and Hexham in the division. “It was a massive decision for us,” manager Cameron Bell said.

“When we joined the league we had hoped to be in the top half, but we hit the ground running from the start and we were then confident we would be able to complete the job.

“All the hard work has been rewarded. It’s a great reward for all players and committee members.

“The teams in the league were informed that there was going to be a place available and we were confident because we were in first place.

“But we kept it close to our chest and waited for the league’s decision.”

It has been a rapid rise through the footballing ranks for Haltwhistle who lifted the Tyneside Amateur League crown last season, joining Division Two of the Alliance instead of the Development Division and then making the step up after their debut campaign.

Although the season start date of August 8 has been mooted by the league’s administration, clubs expect the start date to be pushed back.

Regardless of when the season resumes, Cameron Bell said the promotion had boosted morale throughout the club. He said: “It’s given the lads a buzz to get back playing as soon as possible.

“We won’t be fazed by the higher level of football. We have played some of the teams in cups and friendlies and haven’t lost.

“We’re expecting to hold out own and put up a good fight against all the teams

"The main priority is to keep hold of our players. We have a really good group together and they’re really close.”