Rick Ankers spoke of his pride as Burridge secured the Southern Electric Premier League division one title and admitted: It’s my best moment in cricket captaincy.
The Burridge skipper led his side to a 73-run victory over title rivals Sarisbury Athletic in their decider, as Derek Kenway hit a match-winning century in their total of 217 for seven.
Sarisbury, who only needed seven points to be sure of the title, were bowled out for 142.
Paul Ancell (four for 32) and Geoff Dods (three for 30) did the damage with the ball.
It meant Burridge returned to the top flight for the first time in more than a decade after relegation in 2003.
Ankers said: ‘In six years of captaincy, it has been lots of hard work with plenty of highs and lows.
‘But I am over the moon for everyone at the club.
‘I was very pleased and proud of everyone for the season we’ve had.
‘It’s the best thing that has ever happened to me in cricket as a captain.
‘Everybody stood up to be counted when it mattered.’
Former Hampshire batsman Kenway provided the backbone to the Burridge innings.
His classy 102 included 13 fours and his 121-run partnership with Sam Lavery (50) was vital.
In reply, Sarisbury crumbled with only Matt Journeaux (47) sticking around for any length of time as their title hopes evaporated with a steady procession of wickets.
Ankers said: ‘It was a serious innings by Des (Kenway) on that wicket, under the pressure he was under, and Sam also played a great knock.
‘Then Paul Ancell led the way but all of the bowlers bowled beautifully.
‘I’d worked out all the points on what we needed to do and what they needed to do during the game.
‘But I think there was some confusion on their part on what they had to do to get the points they needed.
‘A few people said it was pretty tense but I was quite calm.
‘I was confident we would win at the midway point – 215 was worth about 275 on a tricky wicket and the scoreboard pressure counted for a lot.’
Ankers believes his men can compete among the premier division powerhouses next term – with some new additions.
He said: ‘I can’t wait for next season.
‘We will need one or two new players but we will not get a load of hired guns who want to play for us now that we are in the premier division.
‘They will be the right people for the future of the club but we will need to strengthen in one or two areas.
‘We will have one of the best batsmen in that league with Des and that is a good starting point.
‘I don’t see us being the whipping boys, even though it will be hard graft. We will give it a good shot.’
Elsewhere in division one, Hambledon escaped relegation with a nine-wicket success that sent opponents Rowledge down.
Ian Turner (three for 23) and Roscoe Thattil (three for 24) starred with the ball as Rowledge were bowled out for just 126 at Ridge Meadow.
In reply, Joe Collings-Wells (77 not out) and James Scutt (45 not out) shared an unbroken partnership of 128 to preserve the Dons’ safety as Rowledge and Hartley Wintney dropped into division two.