THE Basingstoke Bison were crowned champions of the English Premier League, after they beat the visiting Swindon Wildcats 5-4 in a thriller on Sunday night.

A bumper crowd packed into the Basingstoke Arena and the Herd fans stood for the final two minutes of the game, as they cheered their side to a famous victory and only the second league title in the club’s history.

At the final buzzer gloves were thrown into the air as the celebration got into full swing and 23 years of waiting was over and the Bison were league champions once more.

However, the visitors certainly did not make things easy for the Herd, as their man of the match Jonas Hoog gave them the lead as he netted Tomas Malasinki’s rebound at 11:41 The Bison hit back immediately, as a cross from man of the match Tomas Karpov was met at the back post by Ciaran Long.

Swindon then took the lead again, as Hoog scored on the powerplay and only a smart save from home netminder Jon Baston denied Aaron Nell on a breakaway.

The second session was dominated by the home side, as Karpov again was the provider andAlan Lack tied things up as he netted his own rebound at 25:24.

The Bison continued to search for the go ahead goal, but former Bison netminder Stevie Lyle was equal to everything, until a Swindon clearance deflected into the path of Karpov, who made mistake with a lovely backhanded finish.

Just when it looked like the home side, would take a one goal advantage into the final period, a piece of pure magic from Hoog levelled the game once again.

The third period saw the Bison maintain their pressure and great play from Karpov saw him draw the goalie and Long was able to slot into the empty net.

The Herd then doubled their advantage with 10 minutes to go thanks to Karpov's superb strike on the powerplay made it 5-3.

However, Swindon never gave-up and with 70 seconds left, they pulled netminder Lyle and Adam Harding scored to make it 5-4.

The Wildcats came again searching for a game tying goal, but home side backed by their home fans saw the game out and with it the league title was secured.

The Bison complete their league campaign next weekend with a trip to Milton Keynes on Saturday, followed by a home game with Guildford on Sunday (5.30pm), before starting their play-off campaign the week after.