Darlington 1883 last night secured their third promotion in four years, clinching the Evo-Stik League Premier Division championship.
Martin Gray’s men blew hosts Whitby Town away with three goals in the first nine minutes, on the way to a 6-0 interval lead, and an eventual 7-1 triumph to delight the huge travelling support in a crowd of 1,804 at the Turnbull Ground.
Stephen Thompson’s second-minute opener was added to by Kevin Burgess and Graeme Armstrong, who converted a cross from ex-Sunderland reserve Adam Mitchell.
Armstrong completed his hat-trick by the 20th minute, then Terry Galbraith made it six from the penalty spot, after Darlo keeper Jameson had kept out a Whitby spot-kick.
The Quakers eased up on the restart, but Leon Scott added a seventh before Hopson replied late on.
Darlo are up to 104 points, five clear of long-time leaders Blyth Spartans, with one game to go.