Gary Charlton couldn’t miss Whitehaven’s title-clinching win against Coventry on Saturday – so he delayed his trip to Mexico.

Charlton should have flown out on Thursday, and would have missed the 72-0 win at Rugby which confirmed Whitehaven as League One champions.

But the successful coach explained: “It was an hour before we were due to leave for the airport and I just thought, I had never won anything before so, really, I couldn’t miss this one.

“It was a friend’s son’s wedding and, after speaking to my wife, she agreed.

“We will fly out this week instead and we will still be [there] in time for the wedding, and the people all understand.

“I never won a thing playing the game, even though it’s been a big part of my life.

“I never even won the Cumbria Cup and I’ve played for all four county teams involved!

“I might never win another thing in my life, so I think people understand why I did it.

“No harm has been done and the team were outstanding in delivering the victory.”

Charlton, appointed Haven coach last October, added: “Everyone knew that I had changed my departure date and I just travelled with the team as normal and was in the dressing room with the lads.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better performance from them.

“When I get back, we will really get down to the important business of putting together a squad to compete well in the Championship next season.

“If we can keep the players we want from the current squad and add some players to strengthen it, I feel we will be able to cope with the extra demands the higher-league poses.”

Whitehaven’s players and coaching staff can now put their feet up and take a deserved break, and just wait to see who will be going up with them – Oldham, Newcastle, Doncaster, Hunslet or Workington.

Cumbrian team Barrow Raiders and Rochdale Hornets have already been confirmed as the teams coming down from the Championship who won’t be facing Haven next season in the league.

Ahead of Saturday’s final game of the season, Whitehaven-born Super League star Kyle Amor had taken to Twitter to wish Charlton’s men luck.

He said: “Whatever happens today what an outstanding job my old BARLA coach @gcharlton13 has done with the Whitehaven. Best of luck to all the @OfficialHavenRl boys today finish the job off get the win, get promoted.”